Lee Kenny: When quality, service and experience aren’t enough

Lee Kenny, managing director of Snowflake Media
Lee Kenny, managing director of Snowflake Media

Many years ago a mentor of mine posed a game-changing question. “Why should a customer choose your business over any and all other possibilities, including the possibility of doing nothing?”

I had my stock answers about how they would get me and all my experience. How we’d have better customer service than the ‘big’ guys. After all my company is called Snowflake Media, no two snowflakes being the same. ‘Unique’ right?

It took all of 60 seconds for him to point out companies with better service (Those that could employ and afford to hire 1000’s of account managers). He could point to companies where someone was truly the top of my industry with multiple times experience. I’d fallen foul of my own hype. That customer service and “me” would be enough to convince new customers to go with our company. It was a humbling experience.

Fast forward 12 years and I would say that over 90% of companies who come to Snowflake Media looking for lead generation or sales help do not have a good enough answer to the question. Almost all will say quality of product, service or price. All of which can probably be beaten by someone else.

They say there is “riches in the niches”, specialising in a given area. This week see’s the return of BBC’s & Alan Sugars The apprentice. When the time for pitching their idea comes, the majority of the business plans will be minor variations on things that already exist. The winner will be that person who manages to answer the “What’s so different?” the best.

So what’s the answer?

Well assuming that most of us will not create the shift from horses to horsepower like Henry Ford did or invent a unique world-changing product, the like of which has never been seen before. Here is how you go about crafting that message.

Ask

If you have a business already, ask all of your regular customers why they chose you? Go beyond the veneer of pleasantries and ask follow up questions such as where did you shop/who did you do business with before me? Why did you change, etc?

After talking with 20, 50, 100 of your customers a pattern will emerge. The feedback you get will allow you to become a magnet for others with the same problem.

What you’re not

Sometimes an effective strategy is to show customers what you aren’t. So our marketing company doesn’t have ping pong tables, bikes on the wall or fancy-pants offices costing £200,000 a year that needs absorbing in to the customers bill.

Solve a problem

Everything starts with your ability to solve an urgent and pressing problem for your potential client. The reason we answer the “Why do business with us” question is more to establish credibility. If a client knows we’ve solved the very specific problem they have, it means they aren’t paying us to learn how to fix their issues. Instead they get a quicker route to success than if they tried to fix it on their own.

It’s always easier to fix other people’s problems than our own. Take a little time this week to figure out your message. The rewards will be worth it.

Lee Kenny @SocialSnowflake