Today it’s not enough to be the world’s best if no one realizes you’re there. In a crowded market, your talents and skills won’t even be noticed unless you find a way to truly fascinate your listeners.
Meet your arch-enemies, the three threats to fascination: distraction, competition, and commoditization.
- Distraction threatens your connection with others.
- Competition threatens your ability to stand out and win.
- Commoditization threatens your relationships and loyalty.
Today I want to focus on commoditization.
If you become a commodity in the eyes of your customers, you’re in a truly vulnerable spot.
You can be easily replaced.
As business gets busier, it’s no longer enough to keep current customers happy by maintaining the status quo.
You have to fight commoditization by infusing every ongoing communication and interaction with the qualities that make you most different… and valuable. You battle commoditization by leveraging what makes you most fascinating!
- You become a commodity once you cease to remember why the customer chose you in the first place.
- You can’t reserve what you’ve learned about your Fascination Advantage® for winning the next big deal, and allow your existing customer base to gather dust in the closet.
- Your clients deserve—no, demand—that you continue to fascinate them on an ongoing basis.
Your personality is your natural weapon against distraction, competition, and commoditization. The more value you add, the less you have to compete on price, and the less likely you are to become a commodity. If you don’t have the biggest marketing budget, or if you’re not the most famous, you can compete only by being more fascinating.
For some professionals, “adding value” means literally adding dollars to a customer’s bottom line, or to a client’s account. There is an ever-growing number of industries in which the battle to maintain customers is hard fought because these industries have become largely commoditized.
Consider the financial services sector. Many financial advisors are selling the same products and services as everyone else; financial products and services on the surface are pretty much the same, and to the untrained eye, advisors are, too.
As a result, financial advisors face the daunting challenge of setting themselves apart to build loyalty among current clients, despite the fact that they are selling largely the same product as their competitor.
How can a financial services advisor keep his customers loyal? By emphasizing his personality Advantages with every touch.
A financial advisor who can lead with his Trust Advantage each time he communicates by providing accurate and essential details will never become a commodity in the eyes of his clients.
A financial advisor who demonstrates his Innovation Advantage by consistently presenting unique and well-researched options that coincide with his client’s individual interests will never be perceived as replaceable. And so forth.
The fact is, a financial advisor, insurance or ticket-booking agent, or even an IT team must find ways to distinguish themselves beyond the services they provide….not just during the initial sales process, but equally importantly on an ongoing basis to keep their clients from going elsewhere.
Here’s what it comes down to...
- You must either have the biggest marketing budget, or be the most fascinating.
- If others perceive you as a commodity, you’re replaceable, and increasingly vulnerable.
- Avoid commoditization by focusing on the ways your personality is ideally suited to solve problems, and create opportunities.
This gives some food for thought. However, not all of us small business owners have the skills and ability to execute what you are suggesting.
I'm not a copywriter or a marketer, so how do I utilize language to fascinate customers when it's not my natural creative ability like yours?
After doing your beta test online my business came up as Passion but my personality test came up as Mystique, the secret weapon and have been struggling to merge the two.
What do I do then?
The combination of The Secret Weapon with a Passion brand is great! While your company is connecting with its customers on an emotional level, your Mystique is able to take a step back and listen to what they are asking for.
I try to do that with my copywriting. Every man and his dog writes about marketing but as I have Innovation as a primary advantage, I keep using film, TV, or even books as a comparison, instead of just trotting out the same statistics every time. I even wrote about how you could use the show Mindhunter to write better copy if you're a tech company!
I once created a business of offering bicycle tours using a network of paved logging roads through much of Oregon's old-growth forests. Our motto was, "No Stinky Traffic". Problems arose when I spent lavishly on entertainment at overnight stops and didn't charge nearly enough to support the expenses. It was a great concept, but poorly executed. One of my last clients, a forensic accountant from Hollywood, pointed out the flaw -- I was charging half what my competitors did, which made it impossible to staff and cater to my well-off clientel in the manner they were accustomed to be treated. He said the concept was great; the flaw was not charging what was needed to do things right. I learned my lesson too late.
Thanks, Sally, for a fine post!
This is just great!
Sally, I own an operate a locally own house cleaning business and this article talks to me. I absolutely love this article!