You could choose to compete on price … but that is self-limiting as often you end up in a price spiral and cut dramatically into your profits. You could choose to compete on range … but this means you are caught up in additional costs for stock or administration.
One of the most effective competition means is through service and one of the hallmarks of exceptional service is sharing your knowledge and expertise to make your customer’s life easier.
If you have talented staff, they can personally share this knowledge with customers. But they can only serve one customer at a time. The more effective method is to capture this knowledge and to share it with multiple customers. That way, you are extending your service and reputation beyond just one person at a time (and beyond just one salesperson).
One way to do this is through creating a series of Fact Sheets for your business.
Fact Sheets can address:
* frequently asked questions,
* little known but useful facts about your product or service,
* instructions on how to best use the product or service,
* general information about your company and its ethos.
So how do you go about writing Fact Sheets for your business? Here are my top 10 tips:
1. Work out the basics first. Are they going to be electronic or hard copy? If hard copy how big are they going to be A4, brochure style or DL?
All your company Fact Sheets should look and feel the same to give a professional image and to reinforce your brand. Having an eye to design and layout also means you will know if you need 150, 250 or 500 words for your fact sheet.
2. Work out your intent. For each Fact Sheet you are writing, you need to work out why you are writing it. What feeling are you trying to share with your customer? What difference are you trying to make?
3. Brainstorm the key points. Every Fact Sheet has key messages, facts or information that need to be included. It helps to brainstorm the most important pieces of information so that you don’t miss anything when you write. Ask your top salesman what are the most important features of the product or service, and jot down their replies.
4. Brainstorm the benefits. Once you have a list of dot points, go back and work out the benefits of each of the main features. So if you have an automatic outdoor umbrella that opens by pushing a remote control (feature) one benefit could be that you can quickly close the umbrella as soon as you see an approaching storm from the safety of your home.
5. Brainstorm the actions. Work out what you want the customer to do with the information once they have read it. Make sure you jot down a call to action, this could be as simple as “To order, call the office on XXXX-XXXX”.
6. Write the content. Next, convert your dot points into smoothly flowing sentences taking into account all of your intentions, key points, features and benefits. It is great to break up the paragraphs with bullet points to help improve the readability of your document.
7. Remove the jargon. Ensure you go back over your content to remove jargon and complex language. Aim for about a Grade 6 reading level.
8. Add in headlines. Headlines and sub headlines make a difference. They help to keep people reading, grab attention and reinforce key points. Make sure each headline is as powerful as you can make it.
9. Get someone else to read it! It is easy to miss spelling mistakes, typos and places where you are not as clear as you could be. By getting someone else to read over your document they can help identify areas for clarification and improvement.
10. Distribute widely. When you have a content-rich, powerful and persuasive Fact Sheet for your business, be sure to share it with people. Include a copy on your website, send a copy with quotes or invoices, include it in your business magazine as a feature article, hand it to customers with their purchases and have them available at trade shows. The more widely you distribute your Fact Sheets, the more powerful your marketing becomes.