Better is Good; Different is Better
What would happen if we stopped trying to be better than the competition? How would the marketplace respond if weren’t the best? Would they care? I dare you to stop trying to be better!
Serving Customers Morning, Noon & Night
As we embarked on establishing our own businesses most of us imagined our days would be filled with delivering the best products and services to a host of grateful customers. Customers who would clearly see the benefits and superiority of what we were offering.
The reality is that most prospective customers don’t see us. And the resulting reality is that most of us (should) spend most of our time on the 3 elements preceding delivery – prospecting, marketing and selling. (Let’s take it as given that we’ve prioritized time and effort invested in retention post-delivery.)
We’re Probably Good Enough
Having observed many businesses over the past 7 years I’ve concluded that the sincere efforts invested in being better have only produced marginal gains. The truth is that for most of us, we and our products and services are good enough for the world.
The biggest barrier to growth is not being sub-standard; the biggest barrier to growth is that we don’t get noticed. And therefore we don’t get the opportunity to work with as many people as we should.
Winning More Business
If we stand out from the crowd in some way then we’ll get noticed. If we get noticed we stand a chance of being heard. If we get heard we’ll stand a chance of doing whatever it is we’re good at doing.
It’s not about being better – it’s about being different.
It’s about having the imagination and courage to do something different from the competition. It’s about giving ourselves permission to be different.
The good thing is that not many people out there are being different. And the irony is that being different is easier and less expensive than being better.
Now some people won’t like you being different. And that’s good. You probably wouldn’t get on with them and they wouldn’t make good customers anyway. Not all of us like Marmite.
But some of us love Marmite. By being different we’ll bring a smile to someone’s face and they may just be willing to give us a chance. They won’t necessarily become customers. But they’ll probably be willing to take our call or give us 15 minutes of their time. Let’s remember that all we’re looking to do is to move people onto the next step in our process. We don’t propose marriage on the first date. Well, if we do it’s unlikely we’ll get a ‘yes’.
So Why Do We Focus on Being Better?
Ignorance. Well, that excuse is gone now. Being different will win more business that being better.
Distraction. We like making things better. I do. Well, we should stop it. We should be more concerned about serving and benefiting more people with what we already have.
Habit. We’ve been conditioned to fit in. We want everyone to like us. If we stand out people may think we’re odd. That’s true, they might. I guess we all have to decide which has the greater pull – fitting in and being mediocre; or standing out and potentially being brilliant.
Fear. Of scaring off potential customers. That’s also true. We will. But that will leave a more concentrated pool of people who are serious about potentially working with us.
How to Be Different – a very recent example
A team member wants to get some signed paperwork back from a new client as quickly as possible. They decided to send the client a large block of chocolate and a hand written card admitting that the chocolate is a bribe. A colleague has bet them they won’t get the paper work back before the end of the week. (They’ve also enclosed a self-addressed envelope with a first class stamp.) The alternative had always been a constant steam of emails and phone calls and a feeling of being a nag. I wonder if the new ‘different’ tactic will work? If nothing else, its created a better feeling than being a nag!
Not a marketing or selling example but we get the picture. Being different is not too difficult.
Look around and notice what everyone else is doing – and do something different. Look around and notice how a certain few companies stand out from the crowd.
Post-script: Being Better
Continuous improvement and getting better is something we should all do. If we don’t we will slowly die. However, the big gains in terms of winning more business are far, far more about being different and standing out from the crowd. Being different is also fun, especially if we get our teams involved.
We’re good at helping people be different. It’s what we love doing. Especially when we can get a team involved. If you’d like to talk about being different, give me a call on 07931 882 555 – or send me some chocolate!