Have you discovered your formula for success in business? Does it include focusing your resources and efforts on being truly outstanding in your industry? If so, great! However…because we humans are so complex, and because you are doing whatever you do for other humans, being outstanding in your line of work is not enough.
Author and speaker Malcolm Gladwell describes the success of Howard Moskowitz in helping Prego spaghetti sauce achieve leading market share in the U.S. The secret was not in developing the single, best-tasting sauce on the planet. It was in realizing that tastes vary from individual to individual. Prego’s success came from having over 30 different sauces so that each consumer could discover one that delighted.
No matter what product or service you offer and deliver, being really focused and really good is important. If you can also recognize the diversity among the individuals to whom you hope to sell, you will be even more successful. If your business is installing windows, and you have one outstanding brand of window that you offer to all customers, that’s fine. You’ll miss some business when that brand is not available in the particular design or material of construction that a potential customer desires. More important, however, is that you are able to customize the total package delivered in such a way as to appeal compellingly to most customers. Are your employees tuned into your customers? Are they aware that every interaction with the customer is an opportunity to “customize”, even with a very standard product? How is the phone answered? How curious are they regarding what your customer really wants? How well do they listen? How far will they go to make it absolutely easy for the customer to make up her mind, and to do business with you? How often do they do something a little extra to cement the relationship?
Your customers are diverse. You have a number of ways to capitalize on that diversity, even if you trade in a highly standardized product. Use customization judiciously, to your competitive advantage.