sly : marketing

The Unfair Small Business Advantage You Can Use to Devour Your Competition

I have received an awesome guest post by Bernardo Mendez. It’s a video post, and I’m so proud that it’s here on my site.

He discusses three things we can immediately do to get an unfair advantage.

Bernardo’s video reminds me about a few very important things. One is when the pizza delivery guy gave me a ride home. I was walking home from the train station, and he stopped and asked me if I wanted a ride home. He was delivering a pizza not far from my house. I was holding the warm pizza on my lap while he drove me home. It was an awesome feeling. Not because it was pizza, but because this guy really cared for his customers.

Bernardo’s video also reminds me of the time when I was out walking and I discovered the fake deer. I started questioning the reason why we’re trying to stand out from the crowd. We should stand out from the crowd by caring and building strong relationships, not just by doing weird stuff.

To me, a business should be all about caring for their customers, and that’s one of the things Bernardo talks about in this awesome video.

Let’s discuss his powerful messages.

For instance, do you have any examples from businesses that truly care for their customers? I have written about the 5 reasons why I love Zappos without being a customer, that’s because I believe Zappos is brilliant and that they truly care for their customers, but do you have any similar experiences?

Thank you so much Bernardo. I’m still smiling and I’m proud that you’re video is on my blog.

Bernardo Mendez is the creator and host of Yourgreatlifetv.com a video blog designed to help people live a more present and conscious life. You can connect with him on Twitter @yourgreatlifetv or on Facebook www.facebook.com/yourgreatlifetv



62 responses to “The Unfair Small Business Advantage You Can Use to Devour Your Competition”

  1. Bernardo says:

    Jens, I will kick this off by thanking you for inviting me to contribute to your blog, I am glad to know you, benefit from your awesome content and look forward to your blog’s continued success in 2012!
    -Bernardo

    • Hi Bernardo,

      Thank you so much for this awesome guest post. Your blog is brilliant, and I am watching your videos over and over again for inspiration… now I can finally show my readers exactly why I think it’s so awesome.

      This is a fantastic start of 2012 πŸ™‚

  2. Adrienne says:

    Oh amen Bernardo!!!

    I think this is why they are predicting this is the year that people will be more aware. Maybe it’s because people need to go back to the basic and actually care about people. If small business owners do more of this they will definitely end up having more customers who are willing to continue buying from them time and time again.

    Jens loves using the pizza example but I have a friend who has owned a pet sitting business for the past 15 years. It’s highly successful because not only does he love and care about the animals but he treats his customers with respect and caters to their needs. Because of his service that goes above and beyond the call of duty, he’s had a very loyal clientele for the past 15 years.

    Love the video message Bernardo, thanks for sharing that with us. Wonderful guest post Jens, really great job.

    ~Adrienne

    • Hi Adrienne,

      I can see myself in a pet sitting business, I would love that… animals are awesome. And, your friend, I understand why he is so successful, because in this business it’s even more important to actually care for their customers. I remember when I had a dog (a long time ago), and we had to use a pet sitting business. I felt terrible. I didn’t want to leave my dog with someone I didn’t know, and I thought he was going to be in a cage for a few days, without hardly eating and with lots of other animals etc.. When we hire a pet sitting service we need to understand that they truly care, and that we can trust them.

      Perfect example Adrienne.

      Bernardo’s examples are awesome, we can do a lot different for our customers by caring. 2012 is starting out just as I was hoping πŸ™‚

    • Bernardo says:

      Hi Adrienne,

      I agree with you 100% people are always searching for that “new thing” to make their business prosper, to lose weight, to make their relationships work, and yet that new thing is often times a basic skill or principle applied with presence and full intention.
      I can guarantee that even when the pet clients who love your friend get offers from other pet sitters that they don’t even think about it twice before they throw them away.
      I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and thank you for your kind comments about the video.

      Have an amazing day!
      -Bernardo

  3. Ruth - The Freelance Writing Blog says:

    Jens, bravo for using video! Bernardo was great – his advice certainly resonates, especially today when I’m feeling a bit exasperated. And by the way, I think that your sheer marketing genius is reflected in the fact that you work pizza into just about every post!

    • Bernardo says:

      Dear Ruth,

      I’m so glad you found value in my video today.
      I think that the more we can give more of ourselves and share our authenticity and show we really care with our customers, the more real and lasting the connections become. Incidentally, the more fun and fulfilling this small business (self employed) “Thing” becomes too. I’m curious though, what are you a bit exasperated about currently? Love your blog and your personal yet no-nonsense style.

      Look forward to connecting more with you.
      -Bernardo

    • Jens says:

      Hi Ruth,

      Thank you so much. I agree, the video was awesome. I have been hosting an expo for more than 2000 students today, so I’ve been busy for the past days πŸ™‚

      I’m sorry that you were a bit exasperated, I actually had to look up the word, since it was the first time I have heard the word πŸ™‚

      I thought you were getting tired of my pizza stories by now, but if not, I’ll keep adding adding them πŸ™‚

  4. Bernardo says:

    Hey there,

    I’m excited you’re motivated enough to try video for yourself.
    Specifically for your logo website there are 3 sections on your site where this could most definitely fit in.

    Home Page – Give a face to your customers as to who you are and what makes you unique.
    Why us Page – Another place to shine and not just show your USP but also the fact you are human.
    Testimonials – Get a few of your customers to record a 30 -60 second video describing the most outstanding aspect of their interaction with you.

    Blog – I did not find a blog on your site but definitely an area worth exploring.

    Have an outstanding day!
    -Bernardo

  5. Carolyn says:

    This is a wonderful video, Jens. I can see why you had Bernardo as a guest host. He’s a natural in front of the camera and his message is right in line with your blog.

    I read an article today that was shocking in the ignorance shown by the PR rep. You have to check this out, Jens. There’s a post in there somewhere for you (I’m sure you can work pizza into the story!). http://venturebeat.com/2011/12/27/ocean-marketing-how-to-self-destruct-your-company-with-just-a-few-measly-emails/

    • Bernardo says:

      Good Morning Carolyn,

      I really appreciate your words and thank you for your contribution.
      This message can equally be applied to a blog or a social media campaign.
      Look forward to checking out your blog.

      -Bernardo

    • Jens says:

      Hi Carolyn,

      I’ll read the story right now. I’ve been so busy the past days hosting the expo for more than 2000 students today, and hopefully another 2000 students tomorrow πŸ™‚

      Talk to you later.

    • Jens says:

      What an incredible story. It’s hard to believe people like this are still doing business πŸ™‚

      Thanks a lot for sharing.

  6. Bhupendra says:

    Awesome post. Loved the video,After reading the pizza delivery guy story i really understand that how much customer is important in our business.

    • Bernardo says:

      Hi Bhupendra,

      Glad you liked it. If I am not mistaken your business (or at least one of them) is through online marketing. I would say that the best internet marketers I’ve found (those who have stood the test of time) have all been able to add the element of really caring for their customers in unique and generous ways.

      Wishing you an amazing day,

      Bernardo

  7. Ryan Biddulph says:

    Hi Bernardo and Jens,

    Excellent insight here!

    People who care, prosper. The little stuff matters in a big way. Karma is always in effective and each kind act is returned in some way, shape or form

    The pizza example is wonderful. Why? The person gave with no strings attached. No agenda. No deeper motive, just wanted to help. Awesome karma, makes you remember the individual, and the business. The strong emotional bond will cause you to spread the word about the business, word of mouth advertising is the most powerful advertising on earth…you get the message.

    Thanks for sharing your insight guys!

    RB

    • Bernardo says:

      Hi Ryan,

      I Appreciate your comment. You are right, people remember and the funny thing is they remember the bad stuff more often than the good stuff. That is why on a competitive landscape it is vital to develop true human connections with people, that can outlast the inevitable mess ups that occur in any business.

      Have a great day!
      -Bernardo

    • Jens says:

      Hi Ryan,

      It’s awesome that you enjoyed my story about the pizza delivery guy. It happened a long time ago, but I keep telling people about it. To me, this story is one of the best stories when it comes to marketing. It’s not really about the pizza, and it can be applied to any business.

      Thanks a lot for the comment Ryan. Hope you’re having a fantastic day.

  8. Raj says:

    Customers are not always sweet pies. Its important to figure out which ones to work with and which ones to concentrate less on. Once that has been figured, we need to really care for those selected customers who make us more productive and profitable with the least hassle.

    • Bernardo says:

      Hi Raj,

      You are correct, not all customers are customers we should dedicate all of our energy on but we should definitely start on great personal terms with as many of our customers as possible since at the beginning it is impossible to predict what the true outcome will be. My experience is that people that at first glance may seem like total a-holes are often hurt or afraid and when treated right may turn out to be amazing human beings. Having said this I am not utopian and totally understand that we, at times, even need to go so far as to fire customers.

      I appreciate your thoughtful comment.
      -Bernardo

    • Jens says:

      Hi Raj,

      That’s an interesting observation, and I absolutely agree with you. But, I’m also asking myself the question if we can convert “unpleasant” customers to fantastic customers by really caring? What do you think?

      • Raj says:

        I have seen certain customers whose only goal is to make money by cheating vendors. Their tribe is very minimum but they are definitely there. There are some customers whose only aim is to waste your time so that they can get inner satisfaction (like shouting at you for 2 hours at a stretch). There are other customers who make you work for far more than what you can pay. There are others who delay payments endlessly. All these so called customer-gods need to be identified and ignored at a very early stage. Its good for the business. Its important to separate wheat from the chaff.

  9. Stan says:

    Great video! He really knows what to do when it comes to competition. That precisely could be a great help for him to maximize his potential when it comes to his online activities.

    • Bernardo says:

      Hi Stan,
      Thank you for watching the video and adding a comment.
      I guess my main goal today was to share 3 very simple yet useful ways to add a bit more of each of us into every human contact we have. These can help to create a lasting relationship that is not just more profitable but also more fun.

      Have an outstanding day!
      -Bernardo

      • Stan says:

        Fun and useful must come together cause for sure, many would not mind if you gain profit from them. So long as they get the benefit, there will be no problem at all.

    • Jens says:

      I absolutely agree, Bernardo is awesome πŸ™‚

  10. Bernardo says:

    Hello my friend,

    To take what you said even one step further, I would add that when we all start treating each other as people more so than customers vs owners then real friendships can emerge that not only can outlast the test of time but also add tremendous value to our lives.
    Thanks for your comment,

    -Bernardo

  11. Simon Duck says:

    Hi,

    Caring for customers and trying to give them what they want, will always be the number one point to get one over on your competitors. The problem? You have to get those customers first, and although getting a good brand reputation is very important, it might not be the answer for everyone. A lot of people don’t focus on what a company is giving them, they just see the company and think they are the go-to.

    I think that is why companies do weird things to stand-out, they need to get the customers who otherwise wouldn’t notice the, to do so.

    Of course, the way to retain customers, is to keep them sweet, like you said in the video. People are willing to pay more when you treat them better, as after-sales is just as important as the initial sale.

    Regards,
    Simon Duck

    • Bernardo says:

      Hi Simon,

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree that at the beginning the biggest challenge is to get customers. I guess what I’m saying is not necessarily opposite to that. What I meant to say is that if from the start, through whatever tools you use, you manage to communicate honesty and when you engage with customers for the first time, you actually care beyond the sale, then those customers have a higher likelihood of staying with you for the long haul. The reason is because people do know the difference, and those that don’t are not necessarily going to be your best customers long term.

      I think that for the short term some people may just look at what a company is giving them (so of course, an outstanding product or service has to be in place) in the end however, people only stay with companies they care for and feel some (however minimal) emotional connection with.

      Thanks again for your comment, let me know if this makes sense.
      -Bernardo

      • Simon Duck says:

        I agree with your points, giving the customer what they want is the most important aspect, not just for gaining new ones by getting a good brand reputation, but also keeping old ones by always providing what they need. After all getting a new customer is six times more expensive than keeping an existing one.

        Anyway, thank again for the insight, great video and I will have to check out your website.

        Regards,
        Simon Duck

        • Jens says:

          Hi Simon,

          I absolutely agree with Bernardo and your points as well (especially about how important it is to keep old customers vs getting new customers). But one thing I’ve been thinking a lot about is VIP’s, do you believe in treating some customers as your most important customers and giving them extra benefits compared to your other customers, or should you treat every customers the same?

          • Simon Duck says:

            Hi Jens,

            That is a tough question. I think the initial reaction people would give to that is that you should treat every body the same, but at the end of the day that is never going to happen. We have seen through the years the equality, as much as we try, never really happens.

            It depends what kind of person you are really, but I believe that if you are really a businessman/women then you will see the people who mean the most to your company, and take any opportunity you can to get a better relationship with them.

            Lets use an example. If you were a logo designer with a contract from Microsoft and a contract from your local convenience store, you are bound to treat Microsoft differently, as in the long term, that contact is likely to get you more work than the local shop one.

            So at the end of the day, you are always going to have those customers who you treat as more valuable, and therefore you will do more to hang onto, than others. In my opinion that’s just a fact of life.

            Of course this is all my opinion, so anyone feel free to rip me apart πŸ™‚

            Regards,
            Simon Duck

  12. Bill Dorman says:

    Bernardo does a great job; it’s great to get you two together. Now if that’s not culture shock…………:).

    I want to hear the rest of the pizza story Jens; I know there was no way that pizza made it out of the car alive when it was sitting on your lap.

    80/20 rule; better make sure you take care of the 20% of your customers who are driving 80% of your revenues. But it still comes down to treating others like you would want to be treated.

    Great job Bern.

    • Bernardo says:

      SeΓ±or Bill,
      Thank you for stopping by today!
      80/20 rule applies for sure and the way to get that 20 is to treat the 100 the right way as you say. Appreciate you watching this.
      -Bernardo

    • Jens says:

      Hey Bill,

      Well, I could smell that the pizza was not vegetarian, so I wasn’t interested even though I was starving πŸ™‚

      But, you can probably guess what happened as soon as I got home… I ordered a pizza from the guy who just gave me a ride home πŸ™‚

  13. David says:

    Great video Bernardo! We need to love our customer because without them there is no successful business.There is a saying “No man is an Island”, we need each other so respect and appreciate each other.

  14. Jack says:

    Customer service is virtually dead so any company that takes some time to devote to this area is taking advantage of a significant opportunity. People are willing to pay for good service.

    It is an easy way to distinguish yourself from others.

    • Jens says:

      Hi Jack,

      I absolutely agree. I have a strong relationship to a few companies, and that’s the companies that understand how to treat me right. They spend time to get to know me, and they talk to me, and listen to what I have to say, and they remember what I’ve said the next time I talk to them. It’s like a friendship. And to me, this relationship is so much more important than the product.

    • Bernardo says:

      Hey Jack,

      I feel what you say my friend.
      There are few companies I’ve dealt with that I am extremely loyal to in great part due to customer Service American Express is one of them. No matter how many times I’ve called I have always received help pretty fast time frame by smart, caring and service oriented people who can solve problems. If you combine great customer service and personal care then you have a rare gem indeed.

      Thanks for stopping by today
      -Bern

  15. Tony says:

    This is awesome. First, Bernardo, you start off the video right on the money. If you aren’t really providing value to your customers, then nothing else matters. You may get some sales for a while but it won’t last.

    Jens, your added commentary is also invaluable. Customers know when you truly care about them and when you don’t. If you don’t, you will lose them. Thanks so much.

    • Bernardo says:

      Tony,

      Thank you for your kind comment and glad we’re on the same wavelength. I see a lot of businesses trying to find the next big thing wether that is technology or social media based when they should first be worried on providing an outstanding product/service.

      Thanks for sharing your views on this post.

      -Bernardo

  16. Mark Simones says:

    Great video, thank you for the contribution. I completely agree with the first comment about our customers craving human connection. Companies need to give their time and resources to have that human interaction and connection with their customers, they need to create a caring and personal environment as their customers will respond better.

    • Bernardo says:

      Mark,
      Glad you understand that everyone is in the people business ultimately, this insight alone can get you farther than most businesses out there today. I appreciate you taking the time to watch this video and comment in here!
      Have a fantastic day.
      -Bernardo

  17. Praveen Rajarao says:

    Bernardo – I loved the video, and am still amazed at how people like you are so easy and comfortable in front of a camera. I will never get to do any video tutorial in my life for sure. I will freak out!!!!

    Jens – This is awesome stuff and the “pizza” story is hilarious, dont tell me you didnt try a slice of it on your way back πŸ™‚

    • Bernardo says:

      Dear Preveen,

      I sincerely appreciate you kind words. I want to add an additional challenge then. record yourself on video in the next 7 days. I remember vividly 1 year ago the first time I ever recorded myself I wanted to cry when I watched it he he so I committed to recording as many videos as I could every single day, it took about a couple of weeks to feel much more comfortable and at the end of 2 months I had recorded literally hundreds of takes of myself sharing my thoughts and had the equivalent of a few years experience (against people who record one or two a week). The most crucial key is feeling what you say and the rest just follows.
      Let me know how it goes and by all means email me your video and I will gladly give you my honest opinion.
      Have an amazing day and thank you for taking the time to contribute to the discussion.
      -Bern

  18. Al Smith says:

    Excellent. Thanks Bernardo and Jens. You had me at the first one. CARE more for your customers. Wow. Love it. Duh. All great points. Being honest is so important. You will be found out eventually if you are not.
    Be willing to listen with your heart. Awesome.

    This is another reminder of another acronym that keeps popping up. H.O.W.
    How do I become a better person. In life and in business.

    H – Be HONEST with yourself & others
    O – Have an OPEN mind
    W – Be WILLING to change and do what it takes.

    Thanks again guys. Incredible video and great content.

    Al

    • Bernardo says:

      Al,

      Love the acronym you shared and think there is deep wisdom (of the actionable kind) in it. I am very grateful for your take on this video and have a feeling you are the kind of person who already practices this stuff on a daily basis.

      Thank you very much for stopping by my friend!
      -Bernardo

    • Jens says:

      Hi Al,

      Even I should be able to remember your acronym. It’s awesome!

  19. olatoun-graceny says:

    I love the acronym too. It is very important to let our customers know that we are not just interested in their money.There is a supermarket I got to. Not because the price is good but the customer relation is fantastic, then at every festive period they send goodwill messages to their customers and sell at discounted price. SO cool.

  20. farouk says:

    so true Jens
    caring for your customers will let them trust you more and they will make more sales

    • Jens says:

      Hi Farouk,

      I always keep shopping and continue having a strong relationships with people and businesses that are caring. So, that’s really powerful, for people and for businesses.

      Thanks a lot for your feedback Farouk.

  21. Sam says:

    In my opinion, in order to achieve success it’s very important to be unique, special and fair. Talking about customer support, treating your client as equal to you is a good method to get sympathy and appreciation. If you treat someone good, he will treat you the same, good. Also, communication is important too, if you know how to do it well, you can gain almost everything. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jens says:

      You’re absolutely right Sam. To me, caring and creating a personal relationship is the most important, and even more important than having high quality products. Many times I end up shopping at stores that doesn’t offer the best products or the lowest prices, but the best customer service, it’s all because they care about me and who I am.

      Thanks a lot for your feedback Sam.

  22. Eleanor P. Richardson says:

    Hi Jens,

    Wow! That pizza delivery guy should be awarded! This days they are now few gentlemen left.

    I really want to watch the video but it always told me an error occurs. do you have any youtube version of this video?

    • Jens says:

      Bernardo is using Vimeo and I believe that it should be working just as good as YouTube and on all types of computers. That’s weird. Sorry about that.

      Can you please try again and refresh the page?

  23. Becca says:

    The only thing we can do to each other is to treat each other equally.
    Saying goes “Do not do unto others what you don’t want other’s do unto you”

  24. Nicholle Olores says:

    Hi Jens! Thank you so much for this awesome video guest post from Bernardo it is definitely very inspiring. I love the example of that Pizza delivery boy how he cares his customer even the simplest customer we should take care of them and show them the respect that they deserve.

  25. andy says:

    I think it is so important that small business owners and employees take advantage of the things that we can do better for customers than large businesses. Large businesses have so many other advantages that we need to fight back with everything that we can.

  26. ben says:

    I recently saw a small business with 3 negative reviews (out of 16). All were directed at the owners attitude. If he had had the attitude of that Pizza guy, he would be in position 1 instead of position 6 in Google Places.

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