See whether you can use these low-cost and no-cost ideas to stand apart from “business as usual” competitors:

    1. 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.


    1. Provide accurate pricing information, including your competitor’s prices.


    1. Help customers compete – for example, by providing market info they can’t get on their own.


    1. 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.


    1. Be the last resort. For example, let the customer know you’ll deliver the product yourself if you have to.


    1. Take customers as guests to industry events and trade shows so they can learn what’s new.


    1. Partner with other, noncompeting suppliers that your customer uses. For example, organize a training day for several suppliers’ products or services.


    1. Reduce customer downtime by offering equipment loans or rentals.


    1. 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.)


  1. 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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