See whether you can use these low-cost and no-cost ideas to stand apart from “business as usual” competitors:
- Offer after-hours phone numbers, including your home and cell phone. Customers probably won’t call except in emergencies. But they’ll feel better knowing they can.
- Provide accurate pricing information, including your competitor’s prices.
- Help customers compete – for example, by providing market info they can’t get on their own.
- Make the customer’s life easier. Example: Stock hard-to-find items (including your competitors’) to save customers’ time and encourage them to call you first.
- Be the last resort. For example, let the customer know you’ll deliver the product yourself if you have to.
- Take customers as guests to industry events and trade shows so they can learn what’s new.
- Partner with other, noncompeting suppliers that your customer uses. For example, organize a training day for several suppliers’ products or services.
- Reduce customer downtime by offering equipment loans or rentals.
- Share your expertise. Not just on your own product or service, but anywhere you can help your customers. (One salesperson runs sales training for his clients.)
- Always act ethically. Conduct your business in an ethical and professional manner. Trustworthiness is the most important value you can offer.
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