As solopreneurs, we put a lot of thought into what we are to customers – and into how that makes us different from our competitors. That’s very important, but what if you’re in an industry that’s borderline commodity. What if you do a fine job for customers, but the type of service you provide or business you’re in in really doesn’t lend itself naturally to differentiation?
One of my clients, owner of a local marketing and design firm, shared a story with me about one of his clients who faced that very challenge. Being in the pet food distribution business, his client was in a market where products offered and price points were pretty much the same everywhere. When asked how he differentiated himself from his competitors, he said something to the effect of, “I make sure that I’m not an a_ _ hole.” (I’ll let you fill in the blanks!)
Quite a point of differentiation, eh? As I understand, because very little competition enters that industry and customers don’t have a lot of options, some distributors were acting like jerks toward their clients.
So, my client’s client found that not being an a_ _ hole was his key point of differentiation. His unique selling proposition wasn’t centered on what he was. It was all about what he WASN’T!
What does that mean to us as solopreneurs?
- Sometimes you have to think about more than just the bells & whistles of what you offer. The personality behind your brand is what clients will gravitate toward and connect with – especially when you’re offering services that aren’t overwhelmingly different from those of your competitors.
- ALWAYS treat clients with professionalism and respect. Don’t be the “a_ _ hole” your competitors are taking business away from.
Time for you to share! Is there anything that you’re NOT that has set you apart from your competition? Have you seen business owners sink their own ships by being jerks to their clients?
Image courtesy of Suvro Datta / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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