Does this sound familiar?
You’ve met someone who needs your services. In fact they need your services right now and they’re clearly interested in hiring YOU!
And then they ask THE QUESTION:
“How are you different from everyone else offering what you offer?”
And you say something like:
“We provide the best service”
“Our quality is the best”
“We’re a proven leader in our field”
“We’ve been in business for x years in the y community”
“We’re passionate about _____”
And you can tell your prospective customer is not blown away by your response. And they may very well end up going to a competitor.
It’s a bummer because it you truly are their best choice no one ends up winning, not even your competitor if they can’t meet the customer’s needs.
A Problem of Perspective
Let’s return to the question, “How are you different from everyone else offering what you offer?”
When we answer as business owners our answer is often based on years of hands-on experience, skill, and expertise. Our answer is a kind of shorthand for what we know about ourselves and what we’ve actually accomplished.
However, our prospective customer doesn’t have all of this information.
And a response such as “We’re committed to providing the best customer service” is, unfortunately, a cliche these days. Because that’s what everyone claims. And so often it’s just that…a claim which makes a lot of prospects more than a little skeptical.
You may be telling your prospect the absolute truth: you really do provide such outstanding customer no one comes close. But when it comes to persuasion, a claim isn’t going to be enough.
How to Create a Convincing Answer
In my experience, the easiest, most effective way to position your business as the best choice is using a success story to illustrate what makes your business special and unique in the eyes of your customers.
For example, Amy is a local mortgage broker with an exceptional commitment to customer service. Of course there are lots of other businesses also claiming to offer great customer service, free estimates, etc.
But Amy is smart and she knows she needs to illustrate what “exceptional customer service” is and in a way that is meaningful to her prospective clients. Here’s one way she might explain “exceptional customer service” while talking with a prospect.
“I want my clients to really understand the loan process and I encourage them to ask me any question no matter how “dumb” their question may seem. I make it a point to personally respond to questions within a business day and I’ll spend whatever time is necessary to answer the question to my client’s satisfaction.
“This is not standard operating procedure in the mortgage industry. I don’t know many lenders who personally respond to client questions. It’s more common for assistants to follow up with questions and often they don’t get back to the client for a couple days. Sometimes the answers they give are incomplete or just plain wrong.
“It comes down to priorities. I’m in business to create lifetime clients because in my experience, when you treat someone with care and respect, you get great referrals and word of mouth. Just recently I helped a woman who came to me after having a bad experience with one of the larger banks. She was so thrilled with what I was able to do for her she wrote me a thank you letter saying ‘you’d better send me a big handful of business cards because there are a lot of people I want to send your way!”
Keys to a Great Answer
Amy’s example is a good one for two reasons:
- She speaks from her client’s perspective using words and phrases her clients use. You can still ruin the best success story by using technical jargon and bland “marketing speak.” Remember you’re not writing a brochure, your talking to real human beings who want to know they are working with someone who actually cares.
- She talks about not only what she does but why providing great service is important to her. As a small business owner, your greatest advantage is making your values and personal style part of what makes you solution unique and special. It takes some courage to tell people what you stand for because there will always be people who don’t like your position. But playing it safe and trying to make everyone like you is just as risky because you never really answer the “why you” question in a convincing way.
Your prospective customers really want to know why they should work with you and they’re not looking for boring, “me too” responses.
I encourage you to do a little digging and get a great customer story so you can answer the question “what makes you different from everyone else” in a way that has real substance and meaning for your prospects.