I'm on vacation in Sedona, Arizona with my wife up until Sept 1, and when I travel, one of my hobbies is to notice how marketing is done in the places we visit. I know, a weird hobby, but I do it so you don't have to!
Sedona is know for its towering red rock edifices and energy vortexes which convey a feeling of well being. It's also a tourist Mecca with the accompanying stores, restaurants and lodging.
In visiting several of these establishments in our first few days here, I paid attention to how they stood out in a crowded marketplace vying for the traveler's dollar.
And many of these ways of establishing uniqueness and memorability apply equally well to professional service businesses.
Uniqueness is what makes a businesses stand out, but what specific unique factor will your business emphasize? Let's call it the "Sedona Effect." Here are a few that got my attention:
The Sedona Sports Shop was manned by its owner Bill, and from our very first question about hiking shoes, we knew we were in the hands of an expert. When Bill explained the physics of lacing up a hiking shoe for maximum comfort, we were both sold.
How do you communicate your expertise? Is it through the articles you write, your presentations, the content on your web site or the way you answer questions?
Clients are looking for true expertise from a professional and you can't just hope they will guess how knowledgeable you really are.
The first night we ate dinner at wonderful restaurant named Rene's, and from the moment we came in the front door we knew the service was going to be special. The staff performed as if we were honored guests at the White House. Wow, what a feeling!
How often do you receive service like this, as if you were special guests whose every wish was their command? Could you perform at this level for your clients?
Perhaps not, but clients are looking for responsiveness at a very high level. They're not paying for a $100 dinner but for services that can run into thousands of dollars. What could you do above and beyond what you're doing now?
A Quirky Uniqueness
Bill, from Sedona Sports, raved about a special restaurant in the tiny mountain village of Jerome a few miles outside of Sedona. The Asylum Restaurant's motto is: "Abnormality is Normality at this Locality!" The location, view, staff and menu reflect this quirky, fun and delicious approach.
The result of this is a lunch we'll never forget.
Now, you don't need to be weird and eccentric to stand out, but you ought to let your personality shine. For instance, Aren't you puzzled by web sites of various professional services where there is no mention of the owner (let alone a picture or a bio)?
I want to do business with real live people who are interesting in their own unique way. Don't hide behind a "professional image."
An Extraordinary Specialty
After lunch at the Asylum we ventured into the streets and shops of Jerome (once a thriving copper mining town, now a lively community of art and craft stores). But one stood head and shoulders above the rest, Nellie Bly's.
I learned within a minute of stepping inside that they carried "the world's largest collection of kaleidoscopes." And the staff were eager to show me the magically-beautiful, hand-made creations from more than ninety kaleidoscope artists.
Is there something that you do better than anyone else? Perhaps better than anyone in the world? A tall order for sure, but to be known for a unique and memorable specialty makes your clients say, "He or she is the very best at..." Who wouldn't want that?
A Stunning Variety
Our last stop in Jerome was a shop I always seek out on vacation to satisfy my sweet tooth. Jerome had one, of course, a quaint little shop called "Copper Country Fudge." Nothing special in the decor, but they had thirty-seven delicious varieties of fudge!
And with twenty years experience, they make the creamiest, yummiest chocolate fudge I've ever indulged in.
Unlikely that you have thirty-seven services to offer, but are you flexible in the range of options you can offer your clients? Instead of one standard service, do you offer a "choice of yeses" (as Alan Weiss says) that make it easier for clients to work with you?
You can't stand out in every single one of these ways, but pick one and really go with it. Create your own Sedona Effect and make your business memorable, not another "me-too" service.
The More Clients Bottom Line: Uniqueness and memorability for a business are achieved by looking at what the marketplace is already offering and then providing something that stands out in bold relief, that simply cannot be ignored. This is the key to creating a thriving enterprise in any industry.
What's your Sedona Effect? What do you do to make your business stand out, get noticed and generate oodles of word-of-mouth business? Please share on the More Clients Blog.