For two winters I heated my house with an old fashioned woodstove. I learned the art of reviving a bed of dying coals each chilly winter morning, adjusting the kindling, firewood and dampers just right so that the stove would heat my turn-of-the- century farmhouse for the longest period possible.
I had the choice of four vendors to buy my hardwood from. All were local, all sold at the same price, and all had the same quality of hardwood.
But only one supplier, a character called Joe Meiser, advertised same-day delivery at no extra charge. Joe got my business.
Joe got my business because he differentiated himself from his competitors in a way that appealed to me. You need to do the same to remain competitive.
You need to decide what makes you different from your competitors, and you need to promote that uniqueness in your sales letters. Just make sure your differentiator is compelling and actually differentiates you.
"Quality Service" is not a differentiator. It's a given. So is on-time delivery and the ability to meet budgets.
Instead, differentiate your firm based on your competence in your industry or market category. Or be first at something. Or invent something. Just make sure that your differentiator is relevant and attractive to your prospects.
Joe Meiser also had a great guarantee. If you know anything about heating your home with a woodstove, you know that Joe sold and delivered his wood by the bush cord. One bush cord measures 4ft wide x 4ft high x 8ft long. He dumped it in a big pile on my front lawn, and I then had to stack it in neat rows around my property, by hand. Here was Joe's guarantee, always delivered with a straight face but a twinkle in his blue eyes:
"I dump your eight bush cords in your yard with my truck," he'd say. "You try da wood. If you don't like it, you bring it back and I give you new stuff."
About the author
Alan Sharpe is a business-to-business direct mail copywriter and lead generation specialist who helps business owners and marketing managers generate leads, close sales and retain customers using business-to-business direct mail marketing. Learn more about his creative direct mail writing services and sign up for free weekly tips like this at http://www.sharpecopy.com.
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