The way your customers see you will have a considerable effect on how well your business will do…
… after all, customer perception is everything!
You can significantly increase your chance of success, even in an uncertain economy, by positioning yourself as a partner to your customers, instead of being ‘just another supplier’ of the products or services you offer.
But exactly HOW do you go about positioning your business?
You must develop a business strategy based on building quality relationships.
But before you can create your strategy, you have to uncover the things your customers see as important and valuable to THEM… and just as importantly, what is NOT important to them.
The easiest way to do this is to directly ASK them, which you can do face-to-face, or you can use surveys. Take note of whatever they say about you as this is their ‘reality’… their perception of you.
NOTE: Quite often you can get more honest responses when you use a third party to conduct the face-to-face interviews and/or manage the whole survey process. Generally – unless they’ve had a truly bad experience of you – your customers often say what they think you want to hear, rather than express what they really think. Whether good or bad, you want to find out the TRUTH… and this is your BIGGEST opportunity!
The next thing you need to think about is where you WANT to be…
… the way you want to be seen by your customers…
… how you would like the marketplace to see you…
… where you want to be with regards to your competition.
So, for example…
You might want to be seen as ‘exclusive’, at the top-end of your marketplace, the very best quality when compared with your competitors, or you might want prospects to seek you out, and pay you more!
Once you know how you want to be seen in the market, you can create your ‘positioning strategy’.
Here are 4 simple steps to help you position your business…
- Identify the need – Just what are the greatest challenges your customers and prospects are facing? What exactly is it that keeps them up at night? What can you do in order to solve those problems, and how do you do it differently from your competitors?
- Educate your prospects to demonstrate your expertise – What are your areas of expertise in terms of solving the problems being faced in step 1? Your mission is to educate your prospects as to the best way to solve their problems. This means your message needs to show you as an expert. I’m not talking about trying to extol the virtues of your background, your experience or even your qualifications, but something which DEMONSTRATES that you know what you are talking about and can help your prospects and customers solve their problems.
- Identify and reach your potential audience – The ideal client is one who buys from you over and over again. How can you encourage potential customers to continue visiting your company (e.g. keep going back to your website)? In many cases it doesn’t mean you have to invest a pile of cash to make this happen – just start looking at ways you can add value.
For example, could you create an ezine/newsletter with content from industry experts? Can you identify which groups of people already have a high level of influence with your target market?
- Create a communication Calendar to stay in touch – Make sure every communication is relevant and adds value to your audience. Be seen as someone who adds value and gives expertise and experience to help. The more you share your ideas, the more people will view you as being an expert.
If you’re seen as the expert, it is much easier to have people coming to you – but if you are thought to be “just another supplier,” then you’ll end up with potential customers merely wanting to get the best deal they can get on price.
It might take a little effort, but the results are well worth it – you can position your business for success, while at the same time putting yourself at the forefront of your marketplace.
I’d love to hear your views on this post – both positive and negative – so please add your comment in the box below.