My very first post on this blog was about the challenges every business faces caused by the increased rate of commoditization. The more I work with companies, the more I realize that the issue is even more critical today.
Commoditization occurs when your customers/prospects stop listening, eliminate what you perceive makes you special and reduce you (and your competitors) to the lowest common denominator, which is typically price (or something equally arbitrary and harmful to you).
Most companies attempt to do one of three things in response. They differentiate, innovate and/or value-add. Unfortunately, all this really does is throw more noise and complexity into the mix, causing customers to listen even less.
To break through the noise, businesses, marketers and salespeople must do two things:
- First, and foremost, they must start thinking like their customers, and stop making their customers think like them.
- By doing so, they can then effectively find way to earn their customers’ attention.
The key to breaking free from commoditization is getting people to listen. Here are some successful tactics that you can use to earn more attention (and drive more sales):
- As a business:
- Share knowledge on your website that can help your customers do their job better.
- Curate the knowledge that’s out there, and become a resource for your customers.
- As a marketer:
- Instead of sending sales material, write and share an article that highlight the tips or secrets to creating the results you promise.
- Create a presentation your sales team can use to provoke awareness of the key problems you company addresses.
- As a salesperson:
- Next time you ask for an appointment, instead of telling them about all of your benefits, promise to share the results of a study that will help your contact (even if the contact never buys anything from you).
- Develop a list of questions that reframe how your customer looks at their business, instead of how they consider your product/service.