A great way to make your business remarkable

Here’s a great way to easily make your business remarkable.

It’s one of the questions that I often ask my clients.

What would your customers tell me if I rang them up and asked them about you?

People handle this question in different ways. Some people will tell me that they’ve done exit surveys, at the end of an assignment to see what people liked and to give them ideas for further improvements. Other people have lots of testimonials and feedback emails from clients, which we can dig through and try and find common threads.

And sometimes, people will do a bit of a swerve on this question and pull it back to what they think that customers appreciate. Which is often not really what the customers would say, or what is really remarkable about your business

You can find the remarkable for yourself

You might want to go back to your previous customers and ask them what they liked, and what was remarkable for them. Be prepared for some surprises in this.

When I did this exercise, I thought that people would talk about how much more money they had made as a result of applying what we’d been working on in coaching sessions. But what really came out, and you can see this in some of the testimonials, was that people appreciated having somebody on their side, having clarity about what they needed to do, and my direct approach.

What are the things that you take for granted?

You know tons of stuff about your business. You know about all the love and care that you put into every package that you send out. You know the glow of pride that you have when you can see the impact of your work. But if you’re anything like most other businesses or other human beings, you don’t tell people about this stuff.

What might you be taking for granted that other people would tell their friends about? What is it about your company which makes it a remarkable business?

See things from your customers point of view

Try to see your business from the point of view of a customer.

Imagine her coming into your office and seeing you thinking really hard and pacing up and down about the project that you’re going to do with them. What would the customer say if they saw you training your staff in exactly how to wrap the glass vases you sell so that they reach them intact? What would they say if they really knew about the three hours you spent choosing the exact weight and type of paper that your book should be printed on? Would they care that you give 10% of your profits to charity?

These are all things that I’ve seen clients do, to make sure that their customers are happy. But none of them tells the customers about it. From a marketing point of view, there’s little point having a remarkable business if you keep all the remarkable stuff secret.

What would a 13 year old see?

make your business remarkable

And then try to see the business from the point of view of a 13-year-old. Teenagers are great for asking questions, and they have far fewer assumptions about how the world works because they have a lot less information about how the world works. What with this teenager notice about your business? What would they tell their friends at school about your business? I can guarantee you that it wouldn’t be what’s on your website.

In fact, try borrowing a teenager from a friend for a couple of hours and getting them to tell you what they think your business is about, based on your website and marketing material.

Make a list of remarkable things

From these sources, now make a list of all the things that you think are remarkable about your business. Add to this, the things that you know you achieve for your clients. As much as possible, try to do this from a naïve point of view. Because your customers are naïve, they don’t know all the ins and outs of your business, because they’re too busy thinking about their own business, or their own life.

Cross out any of the following which has made it onto your list:

  • I am really nice. Sorry, but everyone thinks that they’re really nice.
  • We really love our families.
  • Duncan from the packing department has a dog called Bruce. Unless the dog does the packing too, this isn’t enough to create a talking point
  • Any words such as “quality”, “excellent”, “customer service”, “outstanding”… Or the worst … “world-class”. These are all words which have been so much overused that they are completely meaningless

Collect stories so people have something to talk about

One of my favourite suppliers is a business called Cult Pens. I spend a lot of money with Cult Pens, and if I’m feeling a bit down, I’ll often spend five minutes looking at their website.

make your business remarkable

Every so often, Cult Pens send out their newsletter. It used to be just some special offers, which could be a bit interesting, and I’d look to see in case they had a sale on uni-ball vision elites (an excellent notetaking pen in a wide variety of colours). But Cult Pens changed their newsletters and now I read them with much more interest, and I’m not looking for a bargain.

Recently they sent one with a picture of one of their members of staff dressed up in a special cape that somebody else in the company had made them for being a champion. This guy was the superhero of the dispatch department at cult pens. This is just a bit of silliness that they’ve had in the office, but it does say something very nice about the atmosphere in the company, and most importantly I get a picture of my pens being picked and packed by some people who are having fun and pretending to be superheroes. Which is a bit different to my mental image of the Amazon minimum wage person who is probably only doing this because they need a job.

What’s happened here?

I’ve told you a story about Cult Pens that they put into my head. And it stuck there. Maybe it will stick in your head, along with my enthusiasm for multicoloured unusual pens. Maybe you’ll go off and buy some uni-ball elites, or a Fude Ball 1.5.

Your stories don’t have to be silly.

In fact, they might be the opposite.

Ollie Alpin has been brave enough to tell the world the story of his mum’s suicide, and how the need to work through this led to him developing Mindjournal, a therapeutic journal for men.

Susi Doherty from photography agency Vervate wrote a moving blog post about how she’s helping Paul Hutchings to organise email newsletters for the charity Refugee Support Greece which Paul has taken a years sabbatical to work for and to encourage other businesses to donate from their profits.

What does this tell us about Susi and Paul? It certainly makes me more likely to want to engage Susi for photography and to want to help Paul out when he comes back from his year of helping refugees.

What stories can you tell about your business?

The reason we want stories is because stories fit into our heads, and they stay there. Stories stay around in our memory for much longer than that brand name or logo you spent tons of time or money on. If you did have a dog called Bruce who helped out in the packing department, and you had a photo of Bruce with the role of packing tape in his mouth, that story would make people remember your business, and tell other people about it, just like I’ve told you about Cult Pens, my favourite brand of pens.

Telling stories about your business gives people something to talk about. Which means that your business literally becomes remarkable – people can remark on it.