The first step in getting your customers to seek you out
On Friday, I did an in-depth interview with Dorie Clark. She was one of the speakers at the Entrepreneur Survival Summit. But for the session I just had with her, we talked for almost an hour specifically about the concepts in her book, Stand Out.
As I was preparing for the interview, a quote from her book stuck out to me:
I vowed that I was going to find a way to differentiate myself, to make my ideas known, and to ensure that clients and event organizers would seek me out, specifically.
Ultimately, that thought is what set her off on a quest to discover how to stand out, so that her ideal clients would choose her, instead of her having to chase after them.
And her strategy for doing that, and what she recommends that most all entrepreneurs do, is to establish yourself as a thought leader. Become known for your ideas, and then build a following around it.
It’s a brilliant strategy. And it’s an approach I am following with my own business. It works for selling information products as well as physical products.
But when it comes to differentiating yourself and your business, thought leadership isn’t the only way to go. Some of these other approaches can be effective for you as well:Being recognized as “the best” at something. Ex. Highest rated photographer in town
- Being recognized as “the best” at something. Ex. Highest rated photographer in town
- Having a unique spin on something that a specific base of clients will appreciate and seek out. Ex. Gluten-free bakery vs. standard bakery
- Being ranked number one in Google search for a relevant keyword for your business.
- Being the low-cost leader. Ex. Wal-Mart
So as you think about how to get your business to stand out, the first question you have to ask yourself is this:
What do you want to be known for?
When someone is talking about your business, what do you want them to say? What is the reason you want your customers to choose you? What is it about you and your business that is so special that it would compel your ideal customers to seek you out?
Answering these questions help to form the foundation of your business strategy. As a result, you’ll have more clarity about where to focus your time and energy. And with that focused effort, over time, you’ll start to see real results in your business.
For instance, if thought leadership is the path you want to take, then starting a blog, podcast, or publishing content regularly on your topic is a smart way to go.
If your goal is to be recognized as the best, unless there is a competition that awards you that distinction, you’ll have to find other markers that prove your credentials. This could be having the most five-star reviews on your services.
If serving a specific audience better than anyone else is the path for you, your approach might include expanding your services to cover multiple unique needs of a particular group, so they view you as the go-to solution for multiple needs.
And lastly, if you feel your best bet is to be the low-cost leader in your niche, then making sure you get the best pricing from your suppliers, and keeping a tight reign on all your numbers will enable you to provide the lowest prices while still making a decent profit for yourself.
Each individual strategy requires a different course of action. But you won’t know which steps to take unless you’ve clearly defined your end destination. It’s what Stephen Covey referred to as beginning with the end in mind, in his classic book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
If your business isn’t performing at the level you’d like at the moment, or if you’d just like to experience a greater level of success, take a moment to answer these questions as your homework for the week:
- Why do your existing customers choose you?
- What do you want to be known for?
- What is your existing strategy for establishing your reputation in what you want to be known for
- Brainstorm three things you can do to improve your effectiveness at establishing your reputation in what you want to be known for.
- What is one action you will take this week to move you closer toward establishing your reputation in what you want to be known for.