6 Steps to Make Your Small Business Stand Out from the Competition to Attract More Clients [UPDATED]
How do you stand out from the competition? What is your strategy to win new clients? Do you have one? We all know that the best prospects to focus on are the people who are already looking to hire someone like you. But, all too often when I search on the Internet for various professionals – whether I’m searching for a photographer, an electrician or a chiropractor, I see very few businesses (if any) whose message truly stands out. If you managed to land on page one on your prospects’ Google search, you can celebrate getting to first base. But, you still need to get to second base. Before you can win the customer you have to first win the click. The key in winning the click is standing out among the competition. Here are 5 simple steps you can implement today:
1. How to stand out from the competition?Communicate the outcome that your customers or prospects would like to achieve when working with you or buying from you.
It’s not enough to simply tell people your occupation or industry you’re in. If you want to stand out among the sea of sameness go further and tell people what specific problems you solve. For example, one of the members in my 6 Figure LinkedIn Secrets course is a registered dietician and nutritionist. Understandably, that’s what she wrote on her LinkedIn profile. But, what was much more effective at helping her stand out from the thousands of other nutritionists on the Internet was simply communicating the key problems she solved and who she solves it for. Her tagline now included “weight loss specialist for busy entrepreneurs”. This immediately got the attention from the right people she was looking to reach on LinkedIn. Her specific outcome message distinguished her from thousands of competitors who simply stopped at stating their occupation.
2. Offer a result based guarantee.
Offering a guarantee takes the risk out of doing business with you. At the same time, having a unique guarantee that competitors do not offer is a great way to help you stand out and differentiate. The restaurant chain, Olive Garden, offers the 45-minute pronto lunch guarantee. If your lunch is not served in 45-minutes it’s free. One of my private clients is the leading expert in sports facility construction. In their industry the standard warranties for installing running tracks are one to five years. My client differentiated among his competitors by offering an unprecedented level of protection with their ten and fifteen year warranties. This level of guarantee is truly unheard of in the sports construction industry and is one of the factors that make his business stand out. What are some guarantees you could offer that no one else in your industry would dream of doing?
3. Communicate the difference.
When I work with small business owners to help position them as the go to experts I often hear my clients ask things like, “How do I stand out when we all really do the same thing?” One dentist told me, “Teeth cleaning isn’t rocket science. I’m sure all the other dentists in town are competent at cleaning teeth.” We didn’t focus on the service. Instead, we focused on the experience – specifically, taking the fear out of the experience by making a visit to the dentist fun! He turned one of his storage closets into a small, cozy game room that fit 3 full size arcade games. Kids now loved coming to the dentist since their reward was unlimited free games in the arcade.
4. Leverage your past experience.
One of the members in a mastermind group I lead is an IP attorney. She is also a former competitive cellist. One of the niche markets she serves is the creative community. Musicians, artists and other creatives instantly bond with her because of her past experience as a trained musician herself. Although her market has access to a dozen other IP attorneys she is the clear stand out because of her past experience helps her understand the unique needs of their creative businesses.
5. Make a unique offer.
You want to put yourself in the shoes of your own customers. Imagine them trying to compare and choose between you and five of your competitors. Take a look at what others are offering. (You’ll be surprised some of your competitors aren’t making any offers!) By you making a unique offer you are helping your business stand out among your competition. A memorable unique offer I came across was of a CPA – 100% refund tax guys. Clients receive 100% refund on their tax preparation when they refer 4 new clients to the firm. Once you’ve developed a list of what makes you stand out among the competition you want to articulate that message into short sound bytes that you can use as headlines and sub headlines on your website, print brochures and business cards. For specific tips and tricks to helping you get the click from Google search results, check out this related post on “How to Get More Clicks.”
6. Get Published in a Magazine
Whatever your industry, find a magazine that caters to your businesses niche. For instance, Lawyers have Super Lawyers. Realtors have Super Agents. These magazines already have a built in audience that you can cater to. Contact them and ask about advertising or having an article written about your business.
QUESTION: How do you communicate your difference when you explain what you do? Share your elevator pitch here: