If two firms are selling similar products, how can you differentiate yourself so that customers purchase from you and not your competitor?
If you’re opening a business that’s selling the same thing as everyone else, then there’s no reason for your business to exist. Coming up with a unique concept with some stunning product innovation and development is the key to success. So, it’s essential to provide at least some products as part of your mix that customers can’t get anywhere else.
That being said, it’s not possible for a small business just making its way into the market to compete with big business on volume. However, it can compete with them on relationships. Relationships with customers, employees, and vendors. Here’s how:
Change your views
According to Andrew Carnegie, making money becomes an easy proposition after the other guy’s basket is filled to the brim. It means that a business does not have to be a zero-sum game. Nobody needs to lose for someone else to win. Instead, try developing mutually-beneficial relationships with your vendors to assist them in producing, while offering the kind of high-quality, well-designed, fun, and useful products that will delight your customers.
How do you do this? Honestly, these relationships take time to develop. Still, initially, you should spend a significant amount of time familiarizing yourself with your vendors, learning about their business and the issues they face. You should then be looking for ways to assist them, make them more profitable, more productive, and of course, happier. And in turn, allow them to get to know you, your business, and what you stand for.
When you develop relationships like this, you’ll be shocked at how many of your vendors aren’t willing, but happy to provide you great pricing, high quality, fast delivery, and exclusive, custom-made products. While it’s difficult to beat the mass merchants on a lot of things, you can sure defeat them on relationships.
Train your employees to sell solutions, not just products
There are many instances of firms where training is perceived as an afterthought or a burden. However, comprehensive training for new hires on every aspect of the products you sell enables them to truly serve as the experts, and offer valuable service to your customers. Thus, you’re not doing, “items-based selling,” but “solutions-based selling.”
When a customer approaches one of your employees and asks about a product, the representative must start asking questions to understand their needs – maybe even finding needs said customer didn’t know they had when they first came in. It’s after assessing their needs that the employee can recommend the best possible solution for them – whether it’s the product they originally came in for, or not. That is truly one of the biggest differentiators out there – and excellent customer service, to boot.
Create an environment where customers want to shop
Don’t underestimate the significance of developing an environment where people want to shop. This applies whether your business is online or brick and mortar. It’s having that, “air of enthusiasm,” or something you can feel in the bright visual displays of useful, clever, elegant products. The customer can feel genuine interest in the their needs, and employees’ smiling faces. Customers can sense when employees are enjoying their jobs and having fun – it’s a contagious attitude, which hopefully causes customers to spend more time shopping. This differentiates you from others irrespective of what you’re selling.Read More