It’s the first full week of school in my district, and that means one subject dominates all discussions among the parents in my neighborhood: What do you think about your child’s teacher? Through talking to other parents, I’ve learned that although the curriculum in my son’s kindergarten is standard, each teacher’s style varies widely. One focuses on technology while another emphasizes creativity; one teacher issues daily homework assignments and posts frequent updates to her class Web site while another keeps most practice work in the classroom and posts minimal information online. All of the teachers at this particular school are rated highly by former students and their parents, so they must all be effective at their profession. But as a parent, it’s difficult not to compare and contrast.
In the business world, there’s a constant cycle of comparison and contrast. Every client is looking for the “best service,” but what that means will vary depending on the client’s personality and the needs of the project. For one client (OK, the majority) price is paramount, while another might be willing to pay a bit more based on a firm’s reputation. One client just wants the deliverables in the requested format, while another wants a detailed explanation of every step in the process. One client might find a surveyor through a referral or through the Yellow Pages, while another looks for a comprehensive Web site with an informative blog as evidence that a surveyor is truly an expert in his or her field.
You can’t be all things to all people, but you can be aware that your business style will naturally attract—or repel—certain prospective clients. In today’s highly competitive market, it isn’t enough merely to offer a service. You have to differentiate yourself, and one way to do that is by honing a particular style. Do you focus on technology? Communication? Efficiency? Complex projects? Do you have a particular specialty or area of expertise?
Identifying your business style and making sure prospective clients are aware of your firm’s key strengths can go a long way toward gaining new business and ensuring client satisfaction.
What do you think? Please share your thoughts below.