Back in the “good ol’ days” consumers used to value a product based purely on its monetary cost and usefulness. But the times are changing, and so must your business practices. In today’s world it’s simply not enough to offer a low cost, or simply useful product.
You have to differentiate from the competition!
Customers will now spend a considerable amount of time sifting through mounds of search results and advertisements before finally deciding on a purchase. But what led them to make this final decision? Whether you realize it or not, a customer’s decision to buy is based on a lot more than a need or want for a product or service.
Although there can be a number of variables affecting an individual’s thought process at any given time, here are 6 ways to differentiate your brand from your competition and drive more sales.
1. Trust Matters
If a customer likes what you do but doesn’t trust your company, they will choose someone else. Plain and simple. Have pride in your work and be transparent at all times, or risk losing their business (and those they would recommend) forever.
2. You Only Get One First Impression
Make it a good one! It doesn’t matter if it’s an in-store experience or a conversation on social media, be sure your actions accurately reflect your brand and what you stand for. When customers are searching for a new product or service they are unfamiliar with, they want to know right off the bat that they have gone with the right company. Put their minds at ease.
3. Establish Credibility
People trust each other more than they trust you. Whether it’s a review on Facebook or a story from a friend, the trust between customers is hard to break. You must establish that your business is credible. Have integrity and put your customers first. As Henry Ford once said: “You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do”. Credibility takes time and effort to build, but without it your business will fail.
4. People Notice Selflessness
If your customers see that you donate a portion of your proceeds to charity or engage in other philanthropic activities they will feel more connected to your brand. Investing in your community and showing others that you genuinely care about the well-being of those around you will further help to establish credibility and trust with your audience. These efforts can also help employees to feel like they are a part of something more than just a business. And one more thing. It’s also easier to justify a slightly higher price if part of your profit goes to charity.
5. Keep Your Word
It’s not about trying your hardest to see things through, it’s about making sure what was promised in the first place is an actual fact. Being honest with your customers can go a long way, even if it means sacrificing a sale for that day. People value transparency and integrity. Because psychology weighs so much into our decision-making process, keeping your word is an instant trust and credibility booster.
You may have lost a sale for the greater good, but that person may refer even more business your way for being so helpful and honest. You may also find that people are willing to wait for something good, and that sale may not be as lost as you thought. Knowing what you are and are not capable of should always be a top priority as a business owner.
6. Don’t Underestimate Customer Support
What happens after a sale is equally as important as the sale itself. Nothing will ruin someone’s perception of your brand quicker than a poor customer service experience. It is at this point that your company’s true colors show. A consumer’s post-purchase behavior is where they evaluate if they have made the correct decision or not, and often, whether they will use your products or services again.
Don’t throw away everything you’ve worked for because you don’t want to replace a part on a product you sold. This is your chance to create a loyal customer who, with continued business, will more than make up for whatever part or service you may have to replace.
Important: Objective vs. Subjective Characteristics
Heeding the above advice will have you well on your way to attracting and retaining more customers. Before making a decision, individuals evaluate products or services based on two criteria: objective characteristics and subjective characteristics.
Consumers can easily determine objective characteristics such as:
- Features and more
These are often visible or tangible aspects.
Subjective characteristics however, are more difficult. Our minds create a “personality” for every brand we interact with.
Suddenly, factors come into play such as a company’s:
- Overall image
Little things like organizing or participating in community events start to find their way into our thought process. Which leads us to the next steps you must take in order to become more successful.
Build and Leverage Your Brand to Sell More!
This information is relevant in today’s business environment for both brick and mortar and online stores because customers have so many choices for products and providers. The most successful businesses you will see all utilize their branding, and rely on it as a source of strength. Every logo you see typically comes with a myriad of feelings, good and bad. The same goes for your business. Make people feel proud to be your loyal customer. Invoke great feelings when they see your name. Invest in your audience and connect with them. Then watch your business grow.
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