Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Standing Out

The trick to standing out in the crowd in your line of business isn't being slick or a smart aleck (we see a lot of people playing the smart aleck online). It's not being controversial or being a shock jock. The trick to standing out from others is being consistent and helpful as you build relationships.

Regardless of what you may have heard, people are still looking for someone to help them; they're still looking for someone that will make them feel safe and secure. I know we have the internet now and people can "educate" themselves on all the products they need, but all the information in the world will never replace a real relationship based on trust, knowledge, and a desire to be helpful.

If you want to stand out in your business, follow these three rules:

1. Communicate consistently
Write a note. Send an e-mail. Send a Tweet. Facebook them. Call on the phone. Drop in to say hello. And when you do any of these, provide something of value.

2. Make yourself available
While I was writing this post, one of my customers called and needed help with a piece of equipment he uses. The manufacturer was short with him on the phone (probably busy), and told him what he needed to do to fix his problem, but he didn't seem like he wanted to help. All I did was let my customer vent, agreed with what the manufacturer suggested he do to fix the issue, and then suggested a couple of other options. Right before he got off the phone he said, "Thank you." I said, "For what? I did do much." He said, "I know, but when I call you I can tell that you really want to help me." Be there when they need you!

3. Build trust
The most important thing you can do in any business is build trust. That means you need to know your stuff, be honest when you don't know your stuff, know what your customer needs, and be honest when you find your product may NOT be the best fit for your customer's needs.

If you follow these three simple rules you'll be leaps and bounds ahead of your competition in no time.

Image: diankarl

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