A David and Goliath Business Story ... How to Win in a "Tough" Market
By Chris Newton
The other day, I came across a couple with a fascinating story to tell - Adam and Karlee.
They were being interviewed on camera as a client testimonial for one of our clients. And I was editing the video footage.
It was interesting to note that as Adam chats about his 'buying experience' with my client's company, he is calm, logical, articulate, well spoken and credible.
Together with Karlee, he produced some great video testimonial footage for our purposes. (We're producing a corporate DVD for the client, but of course, video testimonials are great for Internet applications too).
But back to the story...
When the formal interview was over, the discussion moved to Adam and Karlee's own fledgling business – fortunately with the camera still rolling.
And this is where their fascinating story came out.
Adam and Karlee started explaining how they'd identified an exciting new niche in the furniture removals business market.
Here's the interesting bit. In researching the market, they approached every single one of the storage facility companies in their town, asking whom they'd recommend as a removalist.
And every single one told them that there is not one company reputable enough to be recommended. They'd just discovered a huge cavernous gap in the market.
Lesson #1. Probe for a weakness in the market and tailor your product or service to fill it.
Lesson #2. If the market has a tired old way of doing what they do, find a different way that focuses on serving the customer, not the industry.
They discovered the local furniture removals industry seemed to only hire tattoo adorned, sweat-laden workers with 'experience' in removals. Frankly, not the sort of people a lady alone at home might feel comfortable with.
So Adam and Karlee decided to hire their removalists without this industry experience.
They looked for applicants they'd feel comfortable having in their home, even when they're not there. Family men usually. Karlee said she could pick them in seconds. Something she was sure, every other women would be feeling too. Big difference.
Lesson #3. Find the stumbling blocks that the industry puts in the way, and knock them down.
This is where Adam became really fired up as he explained: "Take the insurance policies on removals. What does the industry do? They give you a long document with heaps of fine print and loads of exclusions and you have to wear a $500 excess if you claim on their damage!
Our insurance policy is simple. If we break it or damage it, we'll replace it. No argument. It's not the client's problem. Damaging their furniture is our problem."
Then he went on with a classic piece of marketing genius, "Look, accidents do happen. We had a case where a microwave was dropped. The lady was understandably upset, saying we'd dropped her $400 appliance. My immediate response was to offer to replace it with a new $500 microwave."
You can only imagine how their business is going to go through the roof.
And how word of mouth about them is going to spread. And how their competitors are going to be left wondering why they're losing business, despite discounting the bottom out of their prices to try to get jobs.
You know, in a business world filled to the brim with mediocre businesses, tired service standards, very average products and services, and patently boring marketing, you can see why people like Adam and Karlee are going to carve off a huge part of their market.
The funny thing is, it's not hard to do.