James Caan wrote in his autobiography “Observe the masses and do the opposite.” This is a pretty powerful message when you consider that, unless you have a patented, unique product or service offering – and let’s be honest here, most don’t – there’s a multitude of businesses out there competing for market share.
The recent HMV debacle made me think more of James’ advice and how literally they seemed to follow it. And, while the competition innovated and adapted their business to embrace an online strategy, HMV appeared to the layman (me) to do exactly that…the opposite.
I’m quite sure James’ advice was not to do everything differently to that of your competition out of sheer stubbornness, but to encourage thinking out of the box, standing out from the crowd and differentiate your product or service. Sadly a trait no-one can argue HMV latterly possessed.
I’m not suggesting for a second that anyone who keeps doing what they always did will go out of business, far from it. However I’m a huge advocate of asking questions, learning, adapting, and changing to suit the growing needs of your client and differentiating your business from the competition to flourish, prosper and grow.
So, in a commercial world that never tires from persistently communicating how good the service or product they provide is, stop. And take just a short moment out from your sales patter and ask the question(s):
“Mr Client, what is it that you feel we do well?”
“What is it we do differently that you like?”
“In your eyes, how can we improve our service to you?”
So, what should HMV have learned from the Tufty Club?
Stop expecting results from repetition, Observe the competition and Listen to what your clients are telling you…you never know you may well be surprised with what you learn and the value your reaction could have for your business.