I’m glad to see that the power of referral selling is gaining the respect and acclaim it deserves. For salespeople, it’s always a struggle to stay ahead of the competition. Blasting prospects with automated marketing messages doesn’t work. Neither does contacting them with pitches about trigger events.
What does work? Differentiating yourself from the rest by knowing what makes your company unique and getting referrals from clients who know your value first hand.
In this week’s guest blog, Maribeth Kuzmeski, founder of Red Zone Marketing, Inc, outlines three solid approaches for standing out from the crowd.
Read what she has to say:
“Competition is everywhere. When our customers look around, they see people who appear to be ‘experts’ everywhere. The key to success in business today is to stand out, to differentiate yourself in this increasingly-crowded marketplace so that people know why they should choose you.
Here are three approaches that work:
1. Identify the most unique aspect of your business.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do your current clients say about you? (If you don’t know, ask them.)
- What do you do that no one else does (or few others do)?
- What target market(s) do you serve?
- What expertise do you have?
- Do you have a service system or process that others do not?
- What do you offer that could be considered ‘above and beyond?’
Our clients are often the best source of information about what makes us unique. I know a financial advisor in Chicago (let’s call him Jim), who was fortunate enough to have two clients who consistently gave him referrals each year. They both worked at a local firm, Abbott Labs. After talking to them, Jim learned they were telling those they referred that he understood the retirement plan, stock options, and benefits program at the company. Jim said it was so simple and obvious that he missed it for many years. Now he uses their description to explain what he does to other Abbot Labs employees.
Consider asking your clients how they would describe your organization to someone who may have a need for your services. Then ask them to rank your performance on the following criteria (on a scale of one to five, where one is “untrue” and five is “most true”):
- We keep you fully informed.
- We do things right the first time.
- We are focused on quality personal service.
- We regularly provide information of value.
- We have adequate contact with you.
- Our employees go above and beyond for you.
- We make it easy for you to contact us.
- I would be willing to recommend your services to a friend or colleague.
2. Expose your uniqueness to your target market.
Once you know how to best describe what you do, actively share that information.
Most consumers, before buying anything, will conduct online research. What they find often dictates whether they come in to see you. First, have a strong website that clearly defines the benefits of working with your firm. Use pictures of you and your staff. Next, add social media to the mix. Expose your ‘best stuff’ to your prospects, who are undoubtedly looking for what you have to offer.
3. Create a surprising experience.
The litmus test of whether you are creating an experience that people find exceedingly valuable can be quantified by the number of referrals you receive. Acquiring referrals often has less to do with how often you ask, and more to do with how you make them feel. Even more so, clients are most likely to introduce you to others when they are surprised by how they feel about you.
Standing out from the crowd is not an easy task. But it is essential to finding more clients the easy way—because they want to work with you.”
About the Author:
Maribeth Kuzmeski, MBA, is the author of seven books, including …And The Clients Went Wild! and The Connectors (John Wiley & Sons) and Red Zone Messaging. Maribeth is also a frequent national-media contributor and international speaker. She and her firm, Red Zone Marketing, Inc., consult with some of the nation’s top advisors and agents, broker dealers, and insurance companies on strategic marketing planning, recruiting, and the development of more effective business-growth strategies. In other words, they help their clients find more of their clients. Visit RedZoneMarketing.com to learn more.