Earlier this week at HQ, something I never thought possible occurred. We had a chap in for a meeting, and before we got round to talking about business, this chap came right out and mentioned he was – and I don’t know quite how else to put this … a vegan.
As you probably know, vegans hold a place in my affections somewhere around the level usually occupied by people who overcook my steak or chill red wine, but this chap seemed to know his stuff. He was intelligent, articulate and seemed in no way impaired by the fact his mid-meeting sandwich appeared to consist mostly of bean sprouts and wood shavings.
It was refreshing that he rebuffed my tongue in cheek interrogation of his ‘habits’ with a tongue in cheek response of his own (whilst sat in a leather chair, may I add) by mentioning that he became vegan for ‘reasons of animal welfare’ and the increased sense of smugness it gave him.
Anyway, the main thing that convinced me he was the right sort of chap (despite all of his obvious disadvantages) was the fact that he said that ‘people buy from people’ which underlines something I’ve always said in the Lowedown about making yourself memorable to both your potential and existing customers.
For instance, there are probably plenty of places both online and offline where I could buy clothes – but I haven’t really looked because I will simply go and visit ‘Bruce the Cloth’ … I’m sure many of the things he sells are just as readily available elsewhere, but I don’t’ just’ buy a pair of trousers … I buy a pair of trousers from Bruce.
I’m sure we all do the same with one thing or another … a local garage perhaps where you send your car to get serviced because the mechanic there talks to you like you’re a human being – rather than just being ‘another number’ at some large soulless place advertising the same service for a cheaper price.
We all have places we would rather go to for a product or service, and you’ll agree it’s most often the relationship we have with the people who provide that product rather than the price that makes it our number one choice. Of course sometimes circumstances dictate that we have to take the more economic option – but that is out of necessity rather than choice … and we’d really rather be buying from people we know.
The point here is that when the product or service you offer is widely available, and it has no USP (‘unique selling proposition’) of its own … to make that difference, to get and keep those customers – the USP has to be you.
By building and maintaining a relationship with your ‘would be’ and existing customers, when the time comes for that initial or repeat purchase – the relationship you have with them will put you at the front of their minds … and you’ll be the person they buy from.
Until next time,
Publisher, Tim’s Business Lowe Down