Catching Your Clients’ Eyes: How to Stand Out Among Competition


Raise the Bar For Your Competition By Showing Off Your Good Side

If you’re a small business owner or manager, then you most likely take pride in your organization. If your highly trained, super-experienced team adheres to the highest standard of service in your niche, if your customers love you and the results you give them, then you should have no trouble bringing in new clients.

But you do because there are many other organizations and teams that can do the same or similar work in your area. Your problem isn’t performance or results, it’s visibility.

So how do you stand out in a market flooded by other providers? How do you let customers know that you are the only right choice for them?

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The team at Washington, DC-based Liberty Laser Eye Center was struggling with just this issue. They were confident in their services and staff, but the densely populated DC suburbs give rise to tough competition among small businesses.

Armed with a carefully crafted marketing message and a few well-chosen advertising tools, Liberty Laser made a name for themselves in the midst of a saturated market.

From establishing yourself as an authority in your field to budget-friendly marketing campaigns, here’s how to catch your customer’s eye.

Know Your Strengths

To stand out, you must know what you do well.

Liberty Laser’s Dr. Nancy Tanchel has a ton of experience on her side—something all customers like to see. The clinic uses state-of-the-art technology to make sure they’re up to speed with the latest medical innovations.

Any organization worth its weight in salt (or, hey, dollar bills) does a few things well. If you’re not sure of your own strengths, it might be worth hiring a consulting or marketing team to help you identify and advertise your competitive advantages.

Be “The One”

No need to get down on bended knee for those proposals. Instead, just let your existing and potential clients know that you’re the best choice for them.

For small businesses, this is crucial. Contemporary consumers like comparison shopping. No one wants to visit a business that’s just decent. Consumers want the best that’s out there.

There are a few ways to illustrate your credibility and authority to potential clients. One of the easiest ways is to volunteer your expertise to local publications and causes.

You’ve got the skills, so flaunt them: write up a piece for a trade magazine, local newspaper, or other relevant publication.

Tell Clients Why They Need You

Your business might deal in niche products and services, but your target customer does have a need for your services and it’s your job to tell them why.

The team at Liberty Laser provides a service that’s not cheap. Their customers could just as easily get a pair of prescription glasses that function perfectly well, but the business entices them with possibilities: what if they could watch TV without glasses, or see the alarm clock in the morning without squinting? To somebody who’s worn, lost, and broken many pairs of glasses, the idea of independent, clear vision is incredibly attractive.

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Your service doesn’t have to be an absolute necessity to be life-changing to your customers. Your target customer, after all, will be able to afford and actually use your product or service. Remind them via social media, blog posts, visuals and graphics, and other media outlets how your service can improve their lives.

Quality Beats Quantity

It might look good to have a large number of previous customers, but those numbers really aren’t that great if they come with bad reviews. Only a happy client will recommend you to friends and family, so treat each client with attention and respect.

Small businesses especially can usually design customized solutions for each of their customers. With a skilled team and one-on-one attention to each client, you can create a network of hundreds of potential customers.

When businesses begin to expand, it can be difficult to scale the customer experience with company growth. But attention to your customers is what allows your business to grow in the first place, so make sure you have enough staff and resources to handle a higher volume of customers with the same care and attention you give your current clients.

In most cases, high quality will trump bells and whistles. A customer might be drawn into your business by high-tech features or tons of add-ons, but if your core product or service isn’t up to par, those extras won’t matter at all.

Be Unique, Be Yourself

There’s something to be said for being different, especially when you run a business. When you’re trying to stand out from your competitors, going along with what’s trendy or popular will only get you so far. To truly reel in potential customers, you need a memorable and unique message.

Every business owner should know something his or her organization does better than the others. If you’re not sure what your competitive advantage is, or if you even have one, you might need to take a closer look at your strengths and weaknesses.

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Your unique trait doesn’t have to be anything ground-breaking. Maybe your auto body shop has the most thorough mechanics in the city. Maybe your dental office caters to those who are afraid of the drill.

Take some time to make a list of what your business does – you’ll probably end up with something on it that other businesses just don’t do.

Don’t worry about having an outrageously memorable competitive advantage—being good at being you will set you apart.

Establish a Target Customer

Even the most efficient, hard-working business will have trouble if they don’t market to the correct audience for their product.

Do some digging. Finding your target customers might be intimidating but you probably already have lots of useful data hidden in customer information. There are also plenty of helpful, comprehensive resources out there. For some basic information, however, you can implement easy studies with data you have already collected.

  • Examine your existing customer base. Look at factors like age, gender, education, location, and income level. Are these actual customers the people you’re currently trying to sell to?
  • Ask your customers for feedback. You’d be surprised at how willing customers are to provide feedback, especially if they feel strongly about your services.
  • Gather feedback in follow-up appointments.

The Price Should Be Right

Most consumers will do some comparison shopping, but they generally know that the best price doesn’t always mean the best product.

Liberty Laser Eye Center knows that other clinics offer LASIK procedures at the relatively low $500 per eye. But they are leaders in the field, use the latest technology available, and maintain an experienced, knowledgeable staff. To communicate to customers the value of their services and expertise of their staff, the clinic keeps their pricing slightly higher, yet competitive.

Your price tells your customers what to expect of your product. If your products are priced too low or too high, you’ll look suspicious.

Standing out for all the right reasons is all about letting people know what you do well. With a few simple steps, you will stand out to your customers like a sharp, clear image—no heavy-duty lenses needed.

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Image: iStockphoto

About The Author

Courtney enjoys woodworking and illustrating in her spare time and is a freelancer for companies such as Computer Dealers & Recyclers Global, Inc., Thunderground Storm Shelters, Timberline Landscaping, and Majestic Roofing.