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Consider Yourself | Use Your Natural Competitive Advantages to Win Business

Posted On - 25/01/2013 15:14:48

It's your real sources of competitive advantage you should sell, not pricesNo this isn't Oliver Twist. And I'm not about to start a song. But I am going to sing about consumer choice. And about being more attractive. So more prospects consider you as an alternative.

This blog is about things you already have but many of you don't sell too well. It's about what you need to flaunt them and how to get better at it. Want to find out more?

Hang on

There's something needing a bit of an airing before we get started. A couple of months ago a small IT business made contact - wanted some advice on winning more business. As part of prepping for the discussion we looked at their website. What did we see? An eCommerce site: full of products prices and a shopping cart.

Now we're not going to discuss the pro's and con's of trying to become an online retailer. Though the word ‘trying' probably gives away what we think about it. We use this example to demonstrate something. This business was selling the wrong thing.

It was doing nothing to sell itself on the reasons why people might consider using it at all - just presenting lists of products and prices. If you're genuinely up for getting more business, it's likely you too need to do more to sell these things as well.

Wanted dead or alive

If it could be so there'd be a price on your head. What you have the multiples would kill for. At the Target Open Day, one of the sessions was on this very point. The advantages you have over them are real and concrete. They're the very things many shoppers look for when they consider who they'll choose. Yet so many of you simply don't get what they are, don't value them and simply fail to use them.

Why should any prospect risk visiting to find you might not to see if you live up to what they'll hope you'll be? The onus is on you to convince them. The obligation is on you to make the effort. The issue is, just what do you need to sell more of?

Convenience

Look up 'convenience' in a thesaurus and you'll see it has many meanings. Which means you've many ways to impress prospects you are. The nub is this: everyone's rushed off their feet and doesn't have enough time – so you have to be really easy to use.

What does that mean? Easy to get to. Easy to find. Easy to park by. Open when they want. And when they visit your shop's easy to use. You're easy to get on with. And that there's a range of stuff so you're worth visiting for other reasons too.

Convenience clearly matters. The question is, how do you market it? That's one of the things I'll be going into over the next few weeks.

Price

Ah, dear old price - the issue that comes up all the time. The only one that really matters.At least, that's what everyone says to us.

Well, yes, price is important. But it's rarely the over-riding factor. The results of our recent Price Comparison show how insensitive sales are to it. Then there's the issue of 'selling' price. Of how you promote pricing (not the price itself).

This can be done in two ways. First, help customers understand what really matters to them. See ‘How to Sell Yourself, Your Worth and Value' for more on this. Second by knowing your competitor's prices and being able to justify why you're different.

This doesn't just mean knowing how to explain when you're more expensive - it matters just as much to be credible over why you're cheaper too.  See ‘Just Obeying Orders' and ‘It's a Mystery' for more on this.

Range

Range is the breadth of what you stock and offer. But it's other things too. Because it's not just computers, servicing and peripherals, it's offering products and services that logically fit with them - office supplies would be an example.

It can also be the complete opposite. We've customers with thriving businesses that sell sweets, nutritional products, clothes, electric cigarettes and even sunbeds. So range can work in all sorts of ways.

But when it comes to range there's something that's often overlooked - the retailing of services. Or knowledge and expertise for that matter. Yet these are every bit as much part of your range as computers, keyboards and USB memory. Is it possible to market services? Knowledge and expertise? Of course it is. You just have to stop thinking adverts.

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