Let's chat for a moment about competitive advantages. For sure, we must identify or invent as many as possible. One often overlooked competitive advantage is to make everyone think that we HAVE competitive advantage. Pretty slick, huh?
Think of it this way: perception is reality and everybody loves a winner. Precious few come to the rescue of the down and out. Failure is frightening and depressing and no one wants to come near, lest the misfortune rub off on them.
Conversely, the appearance of success is a magnet for still more success, mostly because people think you deserve it (you must be doing something right!) and can handle it. Today's lesson is that image counts, so always make yourself look and feel like a winner. Invite success to your door or at the very least, don't make it turn tail and run away from you!
Dress for success
When attending any type of function at which you might possibly meet a prospective client, dress appropriately. Respect the occasion and wear the right casual, formal or business attire. Invest in good quality clothing (shop at end-of-season sales) that flatters your body type. Good quality clothing looks better, lasts many years and is a good investment. When amortized, it actually costs less than the cheap stuff. Dress to impress.
Project the positive
Be enthusiastic and passionate about life and business. Let your body language, voice, eyes and mannerisms sparkle with good energy. Walk into every room with confidence, hold your head high and radiate a positive aura. Others will be attracted to your glowing presence and they will cross the room to introduce themselves, to have the pleasure of meeting and talking with you.
Greet one and all with a firm handshake and a warm smile. Make good eye contact and show that you are delighted to make their acquaintance and are interested in what they have to say. People like to do business with people who have positive energy. It suggests honesty and expertise and therefore inspires confidence and trust.
You're worth it
Create a strong value proposition for your business. Establish that your products and services are top drawer, will provide unique and highly desirable benefits and therefore command a premium price in the marketplace. Communicate that your products and services are worth the investment.
Get to know the objectives and priorities of your typical customers and broadcast the benefits that resonate most. Gather information that allows you to anticipate customer needs and deliver 5 star service every time. Make your customers grateful to do business with you by knowing how to solve their problems and make them look smart for hiring you.
Do your best to maintain your prices, even when there is pressure to offer discounts that are outside of your pricing strategy. There may be times when you must relent, but defend your position by learning to clearly articulate the ROI of doing business with you. Think carriage trade, not cut-rate.
Business is great
Creditors may be ready to foreclose, but do not let on to your clients! Moreover, be discreet with colleagues, lest word of your troubles gets bandied about. The smell of desperation is repellant and clients will take their business elsewhere if it appears that your ship is sinking. If you expect to do any business at all, it is imperative that you project capability and dependability. Financial insolvency does not inspire confidence, no matter how it happens.
Remember always that people do business with people that they know and like. They do more business with people they trust and respect.