By: Glen Stowers
We wondered if 9 am was to early to start calling for help. We began calling every business on the first three pages of our internet search. Surely someone would have their office open that morning, even though it was a holiday weekend.
We left messages on machines and with answering services wherever we could. I began to strategize a very fast, and very cold shower. February is cold even in Arizona.
My husband and I each did another internet search, this time broader than before. Many calls later, we were still without service on a Saturday. With a few tweaks to my search query, a new listing of companies came up. As I called company after company, my hope faltered. Down to the last company, I saw they had no website and no address, so I considered not calling. My hope was like the sputtering flames of the propane stove as it rang once, then twice. Then…
A man’s voice came to the phone.
I asked, “Are you open today?”
“Yes, I am. What’s the delivery address?”
I was so glad to hear those words. I gave my husband the thumbs up with a big smile.
The company was on the other side of the city and it would cost an extra fee for weekend delivery. I assured him the extra cost was not a problem. To avoid the cold shower I would gladly pay a little extra.
I couldn’t stop thinking of how nice that shower would be after all. We had gone from normal routine, to crisis, and back to normal in a few short hours, and our propane problem was solved.
From now on, we are going to do two things for our propane service: watch the level of our fuel so we dont run out again and call the same company back. We’ll give him our business and refer him to others, even though it cost us extra this time. His Saturday service set him apart from the competition.
What service do you provide that sets you apart? What value do you give your prospects?
Think about the value you get from others. Why do you continue to use their services? We get frugal living tips from a realtor through his newsletter. He is branding himself with this simple bit of value, and potential clients will remember him at buying time.
During a bad economy, many people start small businesses and home businesses. Entrepreneurs who provide great value will be more likely to succeed. Customers are loyal to those who give great value.
It took us a while to recognize what value we had in our home business to give to others. We didn’t know much about online marketing and we didn’t consider ourselves experts. We hadnt even been very successful with our own home business. What value could we give that would be meaningful to our prospects? But with experience, along with a hefty dose of good education and research, we know a bit more about what we can do to help others.
Here are 5 things we have learned about giving value:
1. First understand what your potential client wants. If you are selling vacation packages, find out what people want to have on their vacations or what their complaints are about vacations theyve taken previously. Be the leader who solves their problems.
2. Think about your own talents and experience. Where are your strengths? Are you good at a particularly helpful skill? If youre not quite sure, or if you are good at a lot of things, ask a trusted family member or friend what he or she thinks your strengths are. It is often very insightful to know what others think our strengths are.
3. Look Online and see what niches are being filled already. If few people are in your chosen niche, start thinking of ways to provide value. Filling a niche where few others are will be better than trying to compete in an overpopulated niche.
4. Design a website based on the niche youd like to fill. Having someone else design the site for you should cost a few hundred dollars at most. www.elance.com is a good site where you can find website designers and many other helpful services. Also there is an easily-customizable WordPress.org theme that you can purchase for under $100. There are many online tutorials that will teach you to do some cool tricks with this theme.
5. Start populating your website with good content. When writing content, make sure you are unique and that you have fun with it! Don’t forget to include tons of value for your visitors. Your website is where you will provide the valuable content that solves whatever problems your clients are facing. Your purpose in creating content must be customer oriented, service oriented. You are there to help.
I join a lot of lists. My favorite is one who really stands out for originality, but he always give great value. He also helps his leads feel like they are of value and can succeed. His content is entertaining and worth reading each time. I always open his e-mails. He combines his unique style with a niche that is not heavily marketed online. He also is not afraid to tell his prospects what he thinks and take a stand, even if it polarizes him.
When you take a stand, some people might be offended at something you write or say. That’s okay. They aren’t your best clients anyway. Let them go. But don’t be offensive just to set yourself apart. Though some will be offended by your courage, many more will admire you for being yourself.
You have exactly what some people need, and are waiting for. So get to work and you will shine.