Let’s face it, competition is tough. Really tough.
With the Internet changing the game and lowering the barrier to entry, you no longer have a couple of competitors – you have hundreds or even thousands.
But here’s a simple story of a guy and some smart positioning to make a BIG sale… and it has nothing to do with fancy software, google “loopholes” or push-button autoblogging software. It’s good old-fashioned positioning and marketing.
My wife and I decided it was time to repave our driveway. Of course, as a smart consumer, you have to get multiple bids – so I put an ad on craigslist and waited.
Within a few hours – I received about 10 or so emails. And of the 10, there was ONE that quickly become the obvious choice. His name is “Jerry”. Let me explain why (and the marketing lessons you can take).
#1. EASY: I am hiring someone to repave my driveway because I don’t want to do it myself. I have zero desire to do any of that stuff. Seriously, I hate all the “handyman” work around the house.
Jerry said he will come out TODAY (on Easter Sunday) and take all the measurements. Ok – easy enough. He came a few hours later and measured every inch of the driveway with a rolling tape. It took him about 20 minutes because it’s a pretty big driveway.
But here was the surprising part – 5 of the other people who emailed me asked ME to go outside and do all the measurements. Then, they will give me a quote without even talking to me or seeing the job.
Huh? There are 2 things that stuck out from those replies. The first is they are not willing to get in their car to meet someone for a $3K or so job. And second, they want me to do their job.
So rule #1 – make it EASY for people to work with you.
If it’s a product, don’t make me download special software to view your videos. Don’t ask me to create 5 usernames. Don’t tell me it’s for a PC only. Make it easy.
#2. FOCUSED: Jerry ONLY does paving. In fact, his business is called Jerry’s Paving. Every other person who replied to my ad said they do “all types of construction, contracting, etc.”.
Just because Jerry only does paving, does it necessarily mean he’s better? No. But it does make you assume if that’s his only business – he must be good at it.
That’s 2 for Jerry and 0 for the other pros.
Marketing lesson #2 – be niched and focused. And dominate that one industry. Sure, Jerry could probably do other “handyman” services – but by being THE paving guy, he is scooping up that slice of the market. And they are not cheap jobs either. Let the other guys sheetrock the walls, Jerry will gladly corner the paving market.
#3. THE GUARANTEE: Jerry was also the ONLY person who said his work is guaranteed. And guaranteed for up to 2 years.
The other bidders – not even a hint of a guarantee.
Jerry = 3. Competition = 0.
Marketing lesson #3 – you should always guarantee your work and offer the purchase back if not satisfied. Don’t ever fight refunds (even if they are wrong) and offer quality follow-up service.
#4. SOCIAL PROOF: Here was the icing on the cake. Jerry even had a link to his Facebook Fanpage. That’s right, a local paving guy has a fanpage on FB with real, live fans.
You can bet it makes me feel better about working with Jerry.
Jerry = 4. Competition = 0.
Marketing lesson #4 – create a social media presence. And get lots of lots of testimonials and case studies online. It’s no longer an option – it’s a necessity.
I am still waiting for all the final bids, but you can be sure that even if Jerry is 10% or higher on the project, I will hire him.
I love sharing stories like these. And even though Jerry doesn’t have a web site with his own domain (yes, he should), he is still miles ahead of his competition.
If he can position himself as the clear winner using only Craigslist and a simple Facebook page – imagine what YOU can do? He found a clear want/need – and he filled it. It’s as simple as that.
It’s not about tricks and gimmicks – it’s about building TRUST with your potential customer. Nothing else matters.
Kudos Jerry – that’s the way you handle your business.
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