No matter how small, how new, or how commonplace your type of business, you can be that entrepreneur who smiles and says, “Competition? What competition?” And getting there doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It’s all about fostering good feelings.
When you give your customer good feelings about your business, you’re all but erasing the competition from his or her mind.
Start by giving thanks. It almost seems too simple and obvious to work. But be honest – when was the last time you walked away from a business transaction of any size and felt genuinely appreciated? If it wasn’t for you and others just like you handing over your hard-earned money, that business wouldn’t exist. When the most we can expect most days is a half-hearted “thank you” from a disenchanted cashier or receptionist, showing genuine gratitude to our customers makes us instantly memorable.
Appreciation can be demonstrated in so many ways, from a few sincere words over the counter (“You know Mr. Jones, you come in here every Friday night, and I just wanted to personally thank you for your repeat business”) to a gift certificate to a local restaurant for a customer’s birthday (“Happy Birthday! Enjoy your birthday dinner on us.”). Get creative. How can your business say thanks?
Another way to cultivate those warm fuzzies is by anticipating your customer’s needs.
We are living in a world where multi-tasking has become second nature for most. We’re working while we’re worrying, making deals while waiting in the dentist’s office and talking to our kids about their homework while grocery shopping. What’s truly valuable these days is someone who can think for us, because we’ve already got too much on our minds.
As a business owner, you’re in a position to make each customer’s life a little easier. They’re coming to you because they have a problem to solve. They’re having back pain, so they come to you, the chiropractor, for relief. They have coffee breath so they stop into your shop for a pack of gum. They’re worried about the future so they come to you, the financial planner, for advice. Once you understand the customer’s problem, push yourself to imagine what else they might need. What other problems might go along with that initial problem? How can your business help solve them? What can your business do to reduce the load on that customer’s shoulders? Make her feel good about your business, and she’ll feel good about coming back to you.
Need a gift for a New Jersey entrepreneur? They’ll find a wealth of valuable information in my book Straight Talk About Small Business Success in New Jersey: How to Maximize the Growth, Cash Flow, and Profitability of Your Small Business.
Until next time,