Stand out by doing things differently 04 Sep 2019

We keep stressing in our newsletters the importance of being different from your competitors.

A barber runs an appointment system. Customers can go on to her website and book their times to suit themselves. Many people work from home these days and time is precious. She allows 20 minutes to do an excellent job and charges a little above the market rate.

The big advantage is, of course, there is no waiting.

More than 90 percent of her customers book online and the ones who ring up are the ones who most often fail to turn up.

Before she started the system, people would wait two hours to get their hair cut on a Saturday. Now you have to book. She knows she will get away sharply at 2pm.

She has also found if you are available from, say, 8am to 8pm, people will choose a time they find most convenient. Often this will be after their evening meal. However, if you close at 6pm, which she does, you will most likely get almost as many customers.

She also classifies her customers. Before booking, you have to state whether you’re a senior citizen, you have a beard, it’s a four-weekly haircut and so on. Presumably, she can show different times for appointments to match the services. If someone is getting a cheap haircut, they can be made to come at a quieter time. She can fill in the gaps.

In another example, a delicatessen has achieved a difference in spades.

As soon as you go into their shop, you’re offered a cup of barista coffee. Would you accept it?

Well, it is excellent coffee so if you enjoy a good cup, it’s the very place to go and it’s free. There’s a small queue for the coffee, which is probably not surprising.

What are you going to do while you’re waiting for yours? Browse the stock of course.

Be different. If you look like everyone else, you’re likely to get the same results as everyone else. Dare to be different and who knows what you might achieve.

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