|Come up with a product or service that folks will talk about|
Well then, surely our core products and services are going to create a crescendo of mouths wagging out there, enthusiastic about something we sell. Maybe not. Maybe we have fine products, but they are available three other places within three miles or even closer. Maybe we have no differentiation in price or delivery. Maybe our services are just like everyone else's. Then we wonder why we don't experience much WOM, don't get glowing or any reviews on Yelp and Google Places, and rarely get an unsolicited letter of appreciation.
To make matters more complicated, should I ask you where most of your new business comes from, you will almost certainly tell me "word of mouth." The reality is that even average customer service, experience, products, and prices will produce some WOM. Some folks will just like you or one of your employees or your product line or feel very good about your service. The issue isn't that you aren't doing a fine job. The issue is whether you could be doing an amazing job with more thought and planning to create buzz, promote the buzz you create, and give people reasons to spread your buzz.
How big does the product or service difference need to be? Not that big. I had a barber friend who was going out of business due to the recession. I suggested he open at 7:00 a.m. He picked up a huge number of new clients for whom that was a much better time to come. I knew another retailer who was open until midnight. How about same day service if no one else even has same week service. Guarantees can create a completely new product. How about a bicycle that is guaranteed not to go flat? Free inner tube replacements for life if there is a puncture flat.
This will take more work. Go direct to an overseas supplier and buy a huge supply of some standard item. Add your own personal package. Add value through color, size, shape, quantity. Then sell it at a price that will knock peoples eyeballs out. If successful, do the same with a second item.
You don't have to buy a huge amount of canned soda to get the best price. Bring in a container once a month and park it in your parking lot. Undersell the Costco or WalMart by half. Break even on the entire effort. Make it a regular thing. There are many products like this that you can sell out in one day. Find one that will attract your customer base.
Can you give away something like a service? Free kittens or vaccinations at a vet come to mind. What could you do like that?
Wear a funny hat? Have all the employees wear a "uniform" that speaks to your special services. If you have a great product and a decent radius of territory, make sure you promote that product in signage, both indoors and outside. Give it a top and center treatment on your website. Wear uniforms that promote that brand.
No great brands or unique services. Get one. Make that a priority!
I could go on. Pull together a brainstorming group and come up with something.