What’s your lasting impression on people?
If you consider that every entrepreneur believes that their product or service is their lasting impression then how does thinking outside the box help you to differentiate yourself?
I was speaking with a business associate on the phone the other day and we were discussing art and he told me of a particular piece he had ordered online and received in the mail.
One might expect that he was describing the beauty of the artwork or possibly about the technical merit of the artist, but that was not the case. What he did tell me, right off the bat, was about the delivery of the fine art.
The piece was wrapped in a “nice vellum” as he put it. Nothing too extraordinary, but just enough to leave a good lasting impression.
In marketing it should be noted that there are pretty standard ideas behind customer service. Bad customer service can expect to be spread to approximately 20 people from one experience. While great customer service can expect to be spread to only 5. Some studies will suggest, however, that extraordinary customer service, the kind that far exceeds what the customer was expecting, will spread to 15 people.
This works because too many businesses are just fine with making the sale. The ones that succeed are the ones that understand great customer service doesn’t stop after money has changed hands.
As entrepreneurs in the new media age we lose some of the face to face contact. People prefer to buy from people not businesses or corporations.
The idea behind “going the extra mile” isn’t new. How are people talking about you, your small business, and your customer service?
Are they talking at all?
When I was a wedding and portrait photographer I would really work hard at finding ways to create word of mouth advertising. The best responses came from little extras that I would throw in for “free” without the client knowing about them ahead of time. Maybe it was a nice bottle of bubbly the day before the wedding or perhaps a surprise folio upon delivery of a package. These things were all left off of the price lists so that they would come as a surprise and make the client feel special.
The idea is to get the client talking differently about you. Most people will ask a newlywed about their wedding and services. Most of the time, the photographers were great, wonderful, okay, or worse. But if I could get them to say that I was not only great, but that I was thoughtful and surprised them with a personal, touching, little something extra, then that was well worth the price of admission.
If you are a painter, could you sign one of your brushes used on that painting and throw it in for free? Would that cost you too much if your paintings are priced right? Would people talk about it? Be creative.
Gimmicky? Perhaps, but remember that what you don’t do to make yourself extraordinary makes you just plain ordinary.
Yes, your product or service should speak for itself. We all strive to produce work that has it’s own voice, but consider that adding a little something extra may give that work a little boost. An amplifier if you will. Could you wrap your product in a “nice vellum” before you hand it over to FedEx? Maybe throw in a few “marketing business cards” with a great design? What about a handwritten “thank you” note or a coupon for their next purchase?
Yes these things may cost a little extra, but if you keep that part of the overhead low, then you can just add it to the overall price and your profits don’t change a bit.
Make people talk about you in a positive way and you will see your sales go up. Even in this digital age, you cannot beat the power of word of mouth.