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Wipe the Floor with the Big Guys

Posted On - 19/03/2013 16:27:07

This workshop sets out how independents really can compete with the Big Guys. Commencing by setting out the things independents have the Big Guys can't copy, the workshop goes onto recount the main findings of Shopper Preference surveys completed and concludes by drawing conclusions about the key things independents should stress in their marketing.

Part 1: Session Introduction

Session Introduction
Explains the main sections of the session. 'What you have they'd kill for' is about the things independent retailers have the Big Guys wished they did. 'Why consumers prefer you' outlines the findings of three shopping preference surveys with 500 members of the public. 'The right ways to promote yourself' looks at how to market yourself to your inherent strengths - the very reasons why shoppers prefer to use independent retailers.


Part 2: What You Have They'd Kill For

What You Have They'd Kill For
Independent IT retailers have real advantages over the Big Multiples. It's critical to appreciate the genuine advantages you have and that they're concrete. You have and then act to make the most of them. These are your differentiators and they're things the Big Multiples wished they had. They aren't nice to have's to do nothing with. They are the basis on which you can 'take the fight' to the Big Guys and present them a major challenge.


Part 3: Ways to Win New Business

Ways to Win New Business
There are a great many ways to win new business. But with so much you could do, what should you do? Is it better to blog or drop leaflets? Is it better to network than advertise? Or is there another way to think about how you promote your business that's less about what you say and more about what you do? Bottom line is, focus continuously and relentlessly on what get you the biggest 'bang for your buck'.



Part 4: How Much Consumers Prefer You

How Much Consumers Prefer You
Does it sometimes feel as if consumers would rather shop elsewhere? Whether it does or not the results of the Shopping Preference surveys we've conducted reveal why and how much the public supports independent retailers. And they do - overwhelmingly. This session gives the highlights - for much more detail on this area see my blog "What People Really Think About Independent Retail."


Part 5: The Right Ways to Promote Yourself

The Right Ways to Promote Yourself
Focus onto "selling" and marketing to the consumer choice factors that clearly differentiate you from the Big Multiples. Independent IT retailers must make a point of marketing these things. If you don't the public will prefer not take the risk of visiting you to find you haven't got them. How you go about this is critical: the key lies in what you do rather than what you say. In other words, it's about actions not adverts. Regarding passive word-of-mouth, a caution: it's a dodge. Because it's not you being in control of marketing and promoting your business, it's about allowing others to do it for you where and when they please.

Part 6: How to Promote Convenience

How to Promote Convenience
Make the fact you are convenient obvious. Spell it out. Make using you sound easy - use language that emphasises 'ease'. Mention local landmarks in directions. Where the local bus-stop or parking is. Make sure you promote that you have 'range'. SEO your website by location. Stock everyday repeat purchases to make it convenient to pop in. Make your shop layout easy to use. Be convenient to use - easy to find, easy to be found, easy to visit and easy to use.

Part 7: How to Promote After-Sales

How to Promote After-Sales
A warranty is more than a potential drain on your profits. They represent that you are prepared to be held accountable for the products/services you have sold to the extent that you will cover a defect or problem. Warranties mean you can be trusted. That customers can have confidence in you because you promise to make things right. But after-sales are more than warranties. After-sales can be anything after-the-sale. They can be anything that encourages the customer to return in the future. So a free 6 month health-check. Access to special information and downloads from your website. Things that mean your relationship with the customer is extended. They also give you a reason to reach out in the future. "I was just calling regarding your 6 month free health-check. I see you haven't taken us up on the offer..."

Part 8: How to Promote Expertise

How to Promote Expertise
You can say "15 years in the IT trade" on a leaflet but that's all it says. It doesn't tell anyone if you're any good. And you can't claim that yourself - you would say that wouldn't you. If you are to promote your expertise you have to do it by showing people you are. It's what you can do to let people see and assess for themselves you know your stuff that counts.




Part 9: How to Promote Approachability

How to Promote Approachability
Do you make a point a making people feel welcome when they contact you or pop in? Do you take every opportunity to be friendly and approachable? Do you adopt a comfortable open style when talking to people or are you formal? Use a Customer Charter to point out you'll be friendly and open, and hold yourself accountable to it. Getting involved with local good causes is more that just showing you care - it gives people a glimpse of you the person. Make a point of networking with and helping other local small businesses. Invent opportunities to get out on the street and introduce yourself to people - doing a shopping preference survey would be a start and will create you PR.

Part 10: How to Promote Trustworthiness

How to Promote Trustworthiness
Trustworthiness is instilled in a variety of ways. The simplest is to always speak in plain English and never use jargon. It's about being proud of the fact you've been in business for several years and communicating that: "serving Fulchester since 1995." It's also about being completely open and able to talk about your prices and those of competitors without feeling and behaving 'threatened'. It's about making a point of and using your independence "as an independent retailer I can help you impartially'. It's about having case studies on your website. It's about having and being able to prove you operate your business to a Customer Charter. All these things help instill and convince prospects they can have confidence in you.

Part 11: Promoting Affinity

How to Promote Affinity
Remember your first day at high school? University? New job? Maybe you've moved to a different part of the area you live, or a completely new town or city? Can you remember how unfamiliar everything was? How it felt to do stuff you know how to, but in an entirely different place? So what? Well, this is what it feels like to be an outsider. But to really understand this look at it the other way round. Sure, you feel some anxiety – its natural, you're being confronted with the unfamiliar. But you're also unfamiliar to everyone around you. And that means they'll be feeling anxious back. This matters because no matter how long you might have been in business, if you've done nothing to identify yourself with where you are, to be part of your locality, you will remain an outsider to them.

Part 12: Where to Start?

Where to Start?
With so many ways to sell your value it can be bewildering working out where to start. Make sure you 'sell your value' at every opportunity. Drop into conversations previous experiences of 'like' jobs. Write and promote simple self help guides. Blog on current computer issues. Use social media - it has such tremendous reach and is free. With so much you could do, so much you already have to do you have to have clear focus onto what you will do.

Part 13: The Internet is NOT Competition

The Internet is NOT Competition
If people come see you and say "I can get it cheaper online" stop and think. If price were the only issue they'd have bought it and you wouldn't be seeing them. This part looks at how to deal with customers who try and pitch you against etailers.







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