Dec 9, 2012

The Uniqueness Factor

They are age-old questions that completely take most companies by surprise.

"Why should I choose you? What makes your service different?"

You would think that owners of such companies would train their employees to answer such a question, but they don't.

When such a company can't inform the customer why it's different, the customer's perception is this; they are not unique, they are not different in anyway and what they offer is completely the same as their competitors.

Sadly, this misperception is allowed to continue from one company to the next.

So the customer has a choice, pick any company at whim or pick the one that has the lowest price. Since they are all the same why not save some money.

Now, the intelligent business would look at this scenario and figure out ways to be different, to emphasize something in their delivery, their product or their training that makes them unique in some way and capitalize on it.

The problem, they don't! They take the easy way out and lower their prices in hopes that that makes them unique enough in the eyes of potential clients to call them.

No one benefits from price wars, not even the customer.

Price does not make you unique. It may garner work, and get you customers, but most likely they are more trouble than they are worth and that doesn't make for a healthy company nor does it contribute in any way to your unique factor.

Turn open any telephone book and immediately go to section that best fits your industry you will instantly see why most companies are not unique in any way.

For the sake of argument I will pick on carpet cleaning, as this was the industry that I started in as an entrepreneur.

You will see things like, "two step cleaning process", "latest in fast drying", "environmentally safe", "expert technicians"... the same pictures, a list of equipment they use, certifications, name, address and phone number. Boring.

When I see any ad that mentions how many steps they take I wonder if they are cleaning or dancing. And frankly, if the company can't provide fast drying, environmentally safe or expert technicians, do I really want to use them. I mean, really... how many advertise that they send Joe Moron to come out and that he will use toxic products and keep the carpet wet for days. None.

I cringe when I see companies advertising the equipment they use. Like the sheer mention of using Turbo Sonic Truck Mount 3000 is supposed to illicit some Pavlovian response that forces people to call just to have their carpet massaged with my super duper clean-o-matic machine. Sorry, it never happens.

People don't care about your equipment, your cleaning process or how smart your technician is...what they care about is how clean you will make their carpet look when you are done cleaning.

If you truly want to be unique...why not try a little honesty.

Yes, I did say honesty.

"Ma'am I can't speak on what other cleaners are using, or what you can expect from them, but I will try my best to address all of your concerns and deliver a service that you will be proud of, that you'll want to tell your friends about."

Yes, a little honesty goes a long ways.

If you are going to put an ad in the phone book, why not explain to people what they can expect from you upfront... with no dancing, no mention of machines, or how smart your technicians are, or about your chemicals or your drying speeds.

"If you've never experienced our services before then I invite you to call. You'll receive..." then explain in plain easy to understand language all the benefits your customer will receive using your service. No bullet points! Actually, write out a few sentences. Make it personable and friendly, make it real!

If you want to be different, then you have to start thinking different.

Sure, most cleaners will deliver the same service, there is no denying that.

It's the perception you give the customer, the extra attention to detail and the over the top service you deliver that will set you apart from your competition.

For starters, use corner guards, hose wraps, lawn spikes, stair hooks, booties, furniture sliders, a clean van and a clean technician with a clean uniform show that you care. An educational information packet sent to every caller letting them know what they can expect from your service, or carpet cleaning in general, goes a long way in creating your uniqueness factor.

A hand-written "Thank You" note, a follow up telephone call, a monthly newsletter or reminders prove to the customer that you are there for them, that you care about them and are willing to help them when called upon.

The more unique you can be, the better positioned you will become as the go-to expert in your field.

Translation... the more unique you are, the more money you will make!

Rob Anspach is a "brilliantly savvy" entrepreneur who helps frustrated business owners regain the passion they once had by showing them how to be more effective in the marketplace, how to dramatically improve their business so they enjoy coming to work again and how to win over customers regardless of price. Discover how easy it is to make money in your online or offline marketing, to attract and retain clientele and profit from your passions... visit today!

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