Let’s say business isn’t coming along well. What could be the problem? Well, unless you’ve got some dynamic idea to change the world, your average lawn-mowing business is just that: average. There are hundreds of such businesses out there and you’ve got to compete with them all. “Maybe, but mine is the best” you might be saying. So, why it is better? That brings us to our strategy:
v Tell the Customer What You’re First In
“I’m the best” doesn’t cut it. All your customers have seen enough unreliable teenagers to laugh in your face at such a statement. However, even if you do list the strong points of your business, chances are your customers may still not be convinced. The key to getting into your customer’s mind is to be first. To illustrate this point, ask yourself these few simple questions:
Who’s the name of the first person to walk on the moon? Neil Armstrong, of course.
Who’s the name of the second person to walk on the moon?
Not so easy to answer, is it?
What’s the name of the highest mountain in the world? Mount Everest in the Himalayas, right?
What’s the name of the second? Who knows?
The first person, the first mountain and the first business is what is going to occupy the position in your customers’ minds. Kodak, IBM, Xerox, Hertz, Coca-Cola, GE. What do these brands have in common? They were all the first brands in their categories. And they’re still the leading brands today [A.Ries J. Trout, (1991/2003), Positioning: The Battle for your Mind.] To be first is to be invincible. But how can your business be first?
Well, ever heard of Amelia Earhart? She was the third person to fly the Atlantic Ocean Solo, but that’s not the reason she got famous. She was the first woman to do so. If you can’t be first in your category then set up a new category to be first in. And then tell your customers about it. Going back to the lawn-mowing example, you could advertise to your customers that you’re the only one in the neighborhood who does the front lawn and the backyard. Or maybe you can be the cheapest in your neighborhood. Whatever you can think of to be first in, the customers will simply lap it up!
One interesting strategy is the “against position”. An example of this can be seen in one of 7-Up’s advertisements; they called themselves The “Un-cola”. Avis did something slightly similar in one of their advertisements: “Avis is only No. 2 in rent-a-cars so why go with us? We try harder. When you’re not the biggest you have to… Why? Because we can’t afford to take you for granted. Go with us next time. The line at our counter is shorter.” [A. Ries J. Trout, (1991/2003), Positioning: The Battle for your Mind]
Tell your customers what you are, but also tell them what you’re not. Make yourself first in the customer’s mind. May the customer be ever in your favor!