How To Differentiate Yourself To Get More Clients For Your B2B Business
Businesses can only grow from one thing: increasing profit. There are so many gurus out there teaching client acquisition, but very few focus on teaching others how to differentiate themselves other than how to niche down to gain clients. I struggled for years on how to position myself so as not be grouped the same as every other marketing agency.
I knew that if I wanted different results, I had to do things differently. I realized that I am unique and doing things that most won't do, which lowers my margins but improves the lifetime value of a client, would be worthwhile. So, I began by going the extra mile and using FedEx to deliver physical reports to clients. However, I knew that I ultimately wanted to build a business that couldn't be replicated because then clients wouldn't seek out my competitors, even if they're cheaper.
Here are four lessons I learned over the years on how to do just that:
1. Use the four pillars of respect.
Knowing I needed to be seen as different from the competition, I partnered with my current co-director, Huey Lee, so we could implement his proprietary four pillars of respect system:
• Pillar 1: Become an established authority. One way to do this is to create and share thought leadership content.
• Pillar 2: Build credibility with intelligence. This can also be done through the type of content you create.
• Pillar 3: Create continuous trust. This trust is created by solving your consumers' problems as they move along in the sales cycle.
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• Pillar 4: Develop rapport and be likable. To do this, make yourself relatable both in your interactions with consumers and in the stories you share.
2. Clarify your messaging.
Basing my business on Lee's pillars of respect, I knew I needed to sort out my brand messaging. So, I sought the advice of a brand storytelling expert to help me clarify my messaging and create a content creation plan to use for educational marketing. This would help me build trust via various channels before reaching out to prospects.
I learned the key is to craft a message that customers will hear, not what you think they will hear. For instance, there is a character who has a problem and you are the guide because you have been where they are and can help them get where they need to be, but you have to call them to take action so they can create a successful transformation toward their desired results. By understanding your client pain points and their desires, you can really create a story that resonates with them while building value and trust.
3. Create a profile that attracts clients.
Have you ever wanted to grow your business for less and bypass gatekeepers? I have, and I knew it could be done on LinkedIn. So, I reverse-engineered what made a fantastic profile so I could attract more of my ideal clients. I think having a professional but friendly photo and an attractive headline that speaks to your target audience is key because they will determine whether or not to view your profile based on that alone.
When your ideal client does visit your profile, your banner and summary should immediately tell visitors what they can expect from you and your business. Make sure all the experience you share is relevant. I also recommend adding your college and high school education to connect to other alumni.
With this, your network can expand faster to reach the highly sought-after 500+ connections, which makes it easier to have people in your target market trust and accept you. From here, I suggest posting daily status updates and one long-form article a week to continue building trust and credibility with those who are in your network.
4. Be the best problem-solver.
Pondering on how I could make networking in person be authentic, yet impactful, I learned to focus my efforts on where the leaders of a community hang out -- country clubs, for example -- and work on providing value.Instead of pitching them like they are used to, find ways to connect them to others who can help solve their problems, as they are just people looking to have their problems solved. This has created many opportunities for our agency.
If you want to build your client base, focus on standing out by establishing yourself as a thought leader within your industry. Then, be sure to have clear brand messaging that resonates with your ideal client, as this opens the door to create trust and makes you more likable. The key lesson of differentiation and sales is that trust is the ultimate currency.