Cold Stone, Shoe Dazzle and Apple are all known for one thing. And here’s a hint it’s not customer service, their quality or prices. Give up? It’s their signature sales process. By creating a sales system unique to their business they are engaging clients on a whole new level and giving a fresh spin on what could be a stale industry.
What is the first thing you think of when you think of Cold Stone? Is it how much they charge for a large cone or how many toppings you’re going to get? Their signature process of creating the ice cream on the stone slab is what has made them world famous. And yet, Cold Stone is not the first ice cream store to think of cutting in the toppings instead of just sprinkling them on top. It is their signature process –the cold stone slab- that makes them distinct. The same can be said about Shoe Dazzle, which helps create the perfect shoe profile for you; helping customer see exactly which styles would best fit their interests. The same can also be said about Apple who took their “user friendly” brand and infused it within their signature process of letting clients try as many devices for however long with many knowledgeable techies on hand to answer any of your Mac OSX needs.
So, how do you create a unique process that will make your business distinct from competitors?
Make a list. The first step is making a list of all the steps you naturally take with clients. List all your features and add time components to them. For example, if you first conduct a 90 minute assessment and then schedule monthly calls or follow-up meetings then list out exactly what gets done in each meeting and how long each interaction takes.
Back to your brand. Many of us, when first starting a business, hire a branding or marketing expert to create our logo, help us identify our target market and pick our brand colors. But what have you really done with your brand since then? Go back and start thinking what about your brand keeps customers coming back. Is it your in-depth knowledge on a certain product or service or your honesty, your transparency with clients or the way in which you take them away to a better place? Make sure you keep this in mind as you continue to create your signature process.
Mix it all together. Now step back and look at your step-by-step way of dealing with clients from a more objective stand point. Go back and change the names of each step to something more descriptive. For example, you might want to rename your 90 minute assessment a discovery session and the follow-up meetings, business strategy sessions or alignment meetings. Now, rename all your steps accordingly and take out the time component. Adding a specific time to each component will automatically limit your exposure to your client.
Quick Dash & Sprinkle. Before publishing your work cycle try to think of one creative element you can add to your process that will make it truly unique. It can be a gift your client receives at the beginning or end of working with you, a result or an incentive.