How To Have Your Business Stand Out – And Flourish – In A Sea Of Competition

Last Updated on August 28, 2015  

David Risley
Founder, Lead Instructor of Blog Marketing Academy

The world of business is based on the idea of exchange. And…

… bloggers who want to make money on the Internet need to focus less on tweets and comments, and more on what they’re actually producing that can be exchanged with others for money.

This idea of exchange is so fundamental. The simple idea that one pays a certain amount and gets a certain thing in return. All of us have a natural sense of exchange, and where businesses violate it, things go wrong.

The criminal seeks to engage in no exchange at all. They want something for nothing. So, they steal and they trick. To a large degree, our government operates this way today. They take from one group and give to another and they violate the natural way that exchange works.

You’ve got some businesses who deliver less than they were paid. These businesses generally don’t last very long because customers get pissed off. I would say that the internet marketing niche itself has engaged in a lot of under-delivered exchange. People will only buy so many $2k products and not get back $2K before realizing something shady is happening.

People have the expectation that they will get an even exchange in business. If you pay X dollars, you expect X in value. You go and buy a car, you expect a car in great condition and ready to drive away. If a business engages in this on a continual basis, they may or may not survive. It is acceptable, but it only stands out in a world of lowered expectations.

Then, you have the idea of over-delivering.

The word “over-deliver” is used so much these days that it is practically a cliche. However, there’s a reason for that.

Over-delivery is the only real insurance policy you can create for your business. Deliver MORE than the customer expected.

But, how?

Nobody is saying that you should offer discounts, or give people more product than they paid for to a degree which would cause you or your business financial hardship. You never want to over-deliver in a way which makes you feel short-changed. After all, the idea of exchange goes both ways. You want the customer to be happy, but YOU need to be happy, too.

We live in a world of impersonal relations, where people are being treated like commodities. Like numbers. In this world, genuinely CARING about your customer and their happiness, and treating them like an individual, is the perfect means of over-delivering.

Let’s look at some ideas for a business owner – whether offline or online:

  1. Wish your customers “happy birthday” on their big day. Of course, this means you need to ask them their birthday, have a system to notify you, and take the time to do it. You could send out birthday cards using something like SendOutCards, or go as simple as connecting on Facebook and posting on their wall.
  2. Deliver something after they buy from you which they didn’t expect. Perhaps an unannounced bonus on the “thank you” page. So much better than assaulting their eyes with endless upsells and downsells after they buy from you.
  3. When a customer buys from you, how about a simple personal email to thank them. I’m not talking about an autoresponse from Aweber. No, I mean REALLY a personal email that you take the time to send to them individually. Or, take it up a notch and send them a signed letter in the mail. That will stand out much more than an email these days.
  4. If a customer says something nice about you, send them a gift. I was pleasantly surprised recently when I got an unexpected package in the mail from Aweber. A T-shirt and a little hat, and a hand-written postcard thanking me for this video where I talked about why I use Aweber. Totally unexpected.

These small over-deliveries should be made a habit within your business. One should systematize it.

I’m following my own advice on this. I’m in the process of getting a CRM (customer relationship manager) set up so that we can stay in closer touch with customers of Blog Marketing Academy. It will be the hub of my ability to over-deliver as a matter of routine. I aim to bring the concept of CUSTOMER SERVICE back to the world of online business.

So, how can you apply this to your business?

Do you have any examples where you’ve been on the recieving end of this? How did it make you feel about that business?

Post in the comments! 🙂


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  • Great tips thanks for sharing them. We always include a few freebies in our packages and it works very well for us.

  • As business owners, we should be more focused on the idea of exchange. As David says, this is the fundamental element or principle of business. We produce and provide products or services that are sold for a certain amount of money. Then customers expect that they will receive at least that much in terms of value.

    Actually this is a great way to start thinking about all types of business (and even personal) transactions. An example provided by David was the criminal. These guys want to get something for nothing. So, what they provide is either stolen or very inferior (since they probably got it for free either way). The only exchange is the money that is given to them by honest customers. Then there are other businesses who deliver less than the value they were paid. Of course, the word will get around and the probably will not be in business for very long.

    To be successful in business, you really need to think hard about ways to over deliver. Provide more value than the price you are selling your wares for. This way, people feel like they have gotten an excellent deal. They may even wonder how you can afford to provide so much value for so little money!

    There are even some excellent ideas provided about ways to help make sure that the customer feels like you are over delivering. Sending out happy birthday wishes or giving them added and unexpected bonuses are two of the best ideas. Each business can certainly discover a number of other things they can do.

  • Hi David,

    That’s some great advice, especially about being more personal. I’ve been in sales and had my own businesses for a very long time and have always done very well because I really do care about my customers and worry more about them getting what they need than what I’ll make the most money on and they can see i’m genuine so they trust me. Also let them know you are there after the sale in case they face any type of problem with the product or service they paid you for and make sure if they contact you with a problem you get back to them quickly and don’t put it off because you don’t want to deal with the problem. In my case I sell more used bikes than anyone else in the Tampa bay area because I go out of my way to ensure the customer is always happy by doing things that nobody else does like offering an exchange policy if they are not totally happy with the bike they buy even months after they buy it and personally going to their home or workplace to fix a problem with their bike so they don’t have to go out of their way to get it fixed. That’s why I get so many referrals. You have to find something you can do different than your competition and let people know you’re a real person just like them. That’s why I enjoy reading your posts and information you give David because you come across as a normal person not someone just trying to sell me something.

    Robert

  • Lwatmough says:

    I experienced an ‘over deliver’ when going to the Bahia Principe resort in the Mayan Riviera. On our second visit we were upgraded, given resort wide passes,an extra a la carte, fruit and rum in our room and fluffy bathrobes to use. ALL WITHOUT ASKING.
    We felt like a million bucks! and there was little or no cost for the resort as we got already in place priviledges. Would we go anywhere else? Probably not because we wouldn’t get perks on the first visit…see how clever they are???
    So I took this marketing magic back with me and gave out special lesson redemption cards to all my students that registered in advance. They received a ‘free lesson’, of which I was teaching already, so no extra time or cost to me, and  most important, only returning students, not NEW one could pre register. I now have them lining up to give me their fees. WIN WIN

  • Great message David.  I would love to hear the CRM you choose.  I am struggling to find the right one as we speak.

  • lorrainegrula says:

    Over delivering is a great idea indeed.  Seems like to make it work, it helps to set up a system that works, is sustainable and affordable.  The personal touch is indeed rare in today’s fast paced world and online, where anonymity is the norm.    I think personal service means quite a bit to people if it is done right.   However, when my insurance agent mails out a bunch of cheap stuff on my birthday meant to convey the personal touch, I am not touched because it is so obviously a ploy for more business.  It is superficial, as he does not really know me at all nor was any of the stuff he sent actually useful.  That is the wrong way to do it IMHO, but is probably better than nothing.    Now, when an internet business owner goes out of his way to answer an email and give advice on the person’s precise questions, that is an example of doing it right.  David, you do it the right way.   I have been the recipient of your personal-specific emails so it meant a lot to me. I do the same thing with readers of my blog.   I feel good about doing it, and I get lots of thank yous. 

    • Thanks so much, Lorraine. And, yeah, if people like an insurance agent use it to pitch, it defeats the point.

  • Any business that is largely based on the personality and integrity of the business owner MUST engage on a personal level. However, even the best have trouble with this. I have known many internet business persons who make their mark with due to their personal touch. They reach out to customers to solicit opinions, they send special bonuses to their subscribers and members, and they even send personal emails (and in some case call in person) to simply ask how they are doing and whether any improvements could be made. 

    Then it all stops. My sense is that managing a personal connection with customers falls to wayside as the business grows. The problem, as I see it, is that the owner was able to build their business to a certain level while still maintaining the personal touch. When the business gets too big, the demands on the owner to attend to the business take precedence over customer relations. However, there isn’t a plan, or the financing available, to replace the owner’s personal touch with something of equal value. Just at the time when the owner steps back from engagement in order to build the business, existing customers begin to question whether they are still getting value. It’s a tricky time for business owners.

    • The thing to do there is set it up so that it isn’t the OWNER which has to deliver that personal touch.

  • Dear David,

    I believe that you are the poster model for this.  I was delightfully surprised and very grateful to have had the “extras” that you sent my way in the last few weeks. 

    These old yet classic ideas for expressing appreciation have a new resonance for me now and I will use them.

    Thanks, 

    William

    PS Enjoy your vacation. 

  • Getting an unexpected gift would be so awesome! I used to order supplies from a company that included a few hard candies with each order. It was a nice touch.

  • David,

    These are great tips! I especially like the “follow up” tips. In today’s age, it’s VERY rare to expect anything via snail mail. Hence, a person could use this to their advantage in their niche to be more personable with their followers.. Send a random thank you card in the mail, or as you mentioned, send them a Birthday Card! They will be so surprised when they go to check their mailbox!

    All the best,
    -Alex

    • Thanks, Alex. Yeah, since we’re all online so much, I think we’re at a point where physical stuff in the mail can get more attention. It is more unexpected.

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