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3 Ways to Outshine Your Competitors


spotlightLet’s face it, for whatever type of business you have or whatever kinds of products and services your business provides, there are no shortage of competitors, both direct and indirect, all vying for the attention and dollars of your customers. So, on such a crowded business stage, how can you get the spotlight to shine on you and your business? Here are a few tips to help your business outshine all of the rest:

(1) Stand Out With Outstanding Customer Service

One of the best ways to outshine other businesses or competitors that may provide similar products and services to your own business is with outstanding customer service. As a customer, there is nothing more frustrating than getting the run-around when trying to get simple questions answered or issues resolved. Having a high level of courteous, friendly, and efficient customer service among every aspect of customer interactions- from your website, phone and email to in-person communications, will really engender customer loyalty.

Encourage your staff to add a personal touch when interacting with customers. Technology can make it really easy to keep track of your customers’ preferences, details and past orders, so use this to your advantage for building lasting customer relationships. Empower your staff to resolve customer issues quickly and with understanding. Have them respond to inquiries and questions quickly, and with a friendly, helpful attitude. If your business consistently delivers in the customer service arena, it will definitely stand out amongst other businesses, as most fail to focus on customer service.

(2) Build a Solid Reputation

This ties directly in to point number 1 above, because if your business has a solid, trusted reputation (built, in large part, upon outstanding customer service), customers will choose to patronize it over other competitors’ businesses that may offer similar products or services. To secure that solid reputation, build up a strong stable of positive (and real!) customer reviews and testimonials. Make sure to monitor all reviews and social media online, so that you can address any negative feedback quickly and efficiently. Nothing improves a business’ reputation like turning an unhappy customer into a raving fan!

And although both are important, video testimonials and can be even more powerful than written ones, as potential customers can actually see a current customer’s enthusiasm and it can carry more authenticity than faceless text can have. References from other trusted industry professionals and businesses can also help to bolster your profile and enhance your reputation. Customers want to work with businesses that they trust, so having a solid reputation will definitely make your company stand out.

(3) Focus on Your Distinctions

There is an endless sea of boring, unremarkable and unoriginal businesses out there, so to help your business overshadow the rest, find your own unique voice. Think about what your business stands for and what would be important to your target customers when crafting your images, content, marketing materials and offerings.

Whether you use humor, important causes, controversy, or whatever distinctions that separate you from everyone else, make sure that it’s authentic to who you are and what your business stands for. For example, donate a portion of your proceeds to a charity that ties in with your mission, use handwritten notes to thank your customers or create a fun atmosphere that is inviting to customers. Emphasizing what sets you apart from other businesses out there will really allow your business to shine.

What other tips do you have for outshining the competition in business? Please share them below.

Thanks to Robyn Federman of Catalyst, David Fredrickson of My Verified Pro, Kari DePhillips of The Content Factory, John Paul Engel of Knowledge Capital Consulting, and Peter Geisheker of The Geisheker Group, Inc for the inspiration behind some of these ideas.

Article written by
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and Host of Microsoft's Office Small Business Academy show. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a contributor to CNBC, as well as a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics. Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure. Twitter: @CarolJSRoth

Another tip to outshine your competitors is to correct mistakes you make with courtesy, accuracy, and speed.  For example, recently I was at the Publix grocery store (many competitors exist in my area) and when I arrived home and unpacked, I realized they gave me the wrong deli meat. I called the store to let them know, expecting to be told, "We'll give you a free replacement next time you're here."  Instead, the manager got on the phone and apologized and had a new and correct order delivered to my home within 30 minutes!  And he told me to keep the wrong one, too.  You can bet, I've told a lot of people about that. Another example, I had lunch at Bahama Breeze a few days ago and a mistake was made on my order. The wait staff immediately apologized, took it back, and said she would have a new order to me quickly. Within a couple of minutes, the restaurant manager came over and apologized and comped my meal. You can bet, I've told a lot of people about that.

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