When I was a kid I was terrified of chickens. Don’t ask me why. It seems completely ridiculous and it made me the butt of many family jokes (especially from my two brothers). Fast forward a few decades and fortunately I’ve managed to curb my chicken phobia, but they do have a funny way of cropping up in my life. I was recently hunting for some great imagery to explain the concept of what it meant to be extraordinary...and here’s a picture I found of …an extraordinary chicken!
And then I got to thinking about the similarity between chickens and how most people run their business.
If you’ve ever watched chickens run around in a yard – they pretty much stick together in clusters. They scratch the ground looking for worms in the same spots. They lay their eggs in the same places. And they all pretty much look the same. It's hard to tell them apart.
But if you saw a chicken who looked like that extraordinary chicken – you’d likely want to take pictures of it, tell all your friends, post it on Facebook, show it to your kids. In fact, you and your family might keep talking about that extraordinary chicken for years, simply because it was so memorable and so different.
And that’s how you want to make your business.
By doing what everyone else is doing, copying the way your competitors are all marketing, offering the same things they’re offering – you’re just another plain old chicken in the barn yard. It's harder than ever to get people to notice you (which is why you might be finding marketing so frustrating).
I strongly believe that if you’re going to run a business – you may as well make it an extraordinary one. One that people can’t help telling everyone else about and creates an army of raving fans.
Its not nearly as hard as it sounds, mostly because people have been let down so often we all have pretty low expectations.
So in brief, here’s why you’d want to make your business an extraordinary one: 1) It’s easy. People’s expectations are so low it doesn’t take much to make your business really stand out from the crowd.
2) It’s the ultimate competitive advantage. Chances are better than average your competitors are either dropping the ball or delivering ordinary service. If you really take care of your clients, they will never ever look anywhere else and will send you tons of referrals
3) You can charge higher prices. Its very crowded at the bottom of the market, but few businesses know how they can raise their price. Making your business an extraordinary one is an easy way.
So how do you make your business extraordinary? Just follow these 5 easy steps:
1) Keep your promises. So simple, but few do it. Do what you say you’re going to do.
2) Build a brand that looks nothing like your competitors. Something that’s so memorable, as soon as people see it they know it's from your business. For example every month I write a marketing newsletter for my private clients that arrives by snail mail. As soon as they open their mailbox they know its from me – it’s the only piece of mail they receive in a plastic bag and it has a very distinctive rustic modern look to it.
3) Abandon boring marketing (puh-lease). If an honest reading of your marketing materials or your website makes your eyeballs dry up, then just imagine how your prospects must feel. Remember you can’t bore your prospects into doing business with you – you can only interest them. Your marketing needs to be written so compellingly that it keeps them glued to their seat and then lights their pants on fire to call you. Your marketing needs to be extraordinary – look different, feel different, read different.
4) Take great care of the customers you already have. So many businesses are laser focused on getting new sales, when in reality they have an untapped goldmine in their own customer list. I see this time and time again when I consult with new private clients. Remember it’s 5 times easier to sell to an existing customer than it is to try and convert a new one. But its not just about selling. Its about really caring about your customers and their success. It’s the doctor that calls his patient after hours to see how they’re feeling. It’s the vet who remembers Fido’s 10th birthday and sends an oversized Milk Bone. It’s the financial advisor who sends his elderly widowed clients a bunch of flowers on Valentine’s day.
5) Marketing is everything! There’s no point having an extraordinary business if no one knows about it! Educate your clients about what makes your business extraordinary. Send out press releases. Start a monthly newsletter. Run a themed offer of the month to all your prospects and valued clients. Profile outstanding staff going the extra mile. Send new customer welcome kits and let people know what a great decision they’ve made in choosing you.
Do these 5 simple things to make your business extraordinary and you’ll never have to scratch for worms or be mistaken for a plain barnyard chicken ever again!