If you want to win the battle for the spending dollar, you have to offer something tangible to your customers. Saying you’ll give them good service won’t cut it. This six-step plan will help set you apart from the competition and boost sales.
1. Determine your enemies (er, competitors). You probably have their names in your head, but have you written them down and scrutinized the list? Are they really competition or just people in the same industry aiming at a different part of the market? If you’re selling Ferraris and your “competitor” sells Fiats, then you probably aren’t competition at all. All you need to do is narrow your niche.
2. Find out what the competition has to offer. It always amazes me how many businesses claim they are bigger, better, and brighter than their opposition, but when you ask them specifically what the opposition offers, they can’t tell you. In retail, mystery-shopping your competition is the best way to do this. Would you really go into battle not knowing the size and location of the opposing troops?
3. Define your point of difference. Now it’s time to look at your list of ideas. Are they better than your competition’s? You may have thought you’d come up with a winner only to find your opponent is offering something better. Revisit the list of ideas; remove those guarantees, warranties, and promises that can’t/won’t work; and see what you’ve got that you can actually implement.
4. Try out your offer. Let’s say you decide to implement a 30-day money-back guarantee, but you’re not sure that it will help you close sales. Don’t spend a fortune on fancy marketing until you know it will make a difference. Have your sales staff offer the 30-day money-back guarantee for a period of time as one of their selling techniques and measure whether this strategy leads to an increase in sales.
5. Implement it! If the reaction is good and you are converting more sales, then it’s time to make it a policy.
6. Spread the word. I’ve often asked business owners why I would buy from them; after I get the standard spiel about great service and being around since 1885, they’ll suddenly hit you with a real winner. When I ask them if they include that boast when they’re trying to close the sale, the answer is, invariably, no. There’s no point in keeping secret what makes your store distinctive. If you have an awesome point of difference, then shout it from the rooftops.