Part 1 of 13 Growth Barrier Bustin'
Four Ways your can Big Up even if you are the smaller company
We get lots of questions from leaders who, after reviewing the competition online, conclude that they simply cannot compete with the competition. The competition is simply too big. Looking at that Big One Brand can be overwhelming.
Here's a strategy you can use to elevate your status and create bigger profits and impact.
What is Bigging Up?
By definition, bigging up is slang for shouting out, sharing respect, or building up yourself or someone else. If you listen to a lot of rap music, you might hear someone say, "I want to big up all the people that have helped me over the years," or "Big up on the great performance." Bigging up, or being bigged means to elevate or make important, prominent, or famous.
Exactly what SMBs need to grow
This idea of promotion and elevation is exactly what small companies need when they are in the big company vs. small company position.
Here are four ways that you can use this strategy to improve how well you compete against larger companies:
ONE. Bigging up begins in the way that you view yourself.
There is a great lesson found in the Biblical story of the journey of the Israelites from Egypt into Canaan. When the Israelites first arrived and sent spies to check out the condition inside of this land, they were shocked to discover that there were really massive people - giants. When they described they said that some of these people were so large it made them feel as if were grasshoppers in their eyes.
That's the way that many small businesses feel as they begin to look at the prospects of competing against large incumbent competitors with an established presence online and a large brand in the market.
Small companies that have a big impact start by believing that they have the potential and the capability of shaping their industry no matter their size. And the truth is that there are benefits to being a big company with things like economies of scale, but there are also lots of drawbacks.
Larger companies are slower to respond to market shifts, they have a hard time focusing on specific niches, and in the effort to scale they often leave people feeling like they are insignificant. This reality can even generate to the point where if you are not a large account you don't get appropriate attention from the company.
Customers understand this and they know that they're getting some benefits from the larger company size while at the same time they are risking being treated as insignificant customers. Honestly, they're nervous about how well they will be supported.
Bigging up actually really begins in the way you think about yourself, the way you talk with your team, and the way you deliver products and services to your customers.
Small thinking results in small results.
Being best in class does not depend upon company size.
TWO. Bigging up happens as you get testimonials and share them along with your connections to reputable customers and suppliers.
Of course, many people already do this so that testimonials and the logos on a website have less impact. So what’s the way to big up when it comes to sharing the way that others view the quality of your company? The answer is you up your game when it comes to the way you collect and share social proof.
You can do this practically in a couple of ways:
- Be intentional about collecting testimonials and ask directly for the customer to share not just the facts but their actual experience and emotions that go with it.
- Be on a dedicated hunt to work with customers that can become case studies. There's a period of time for small businesses when the only customer they should be looking for are those that have the characteristics that will allow them to become case studies.
- You can also big up with testimonials by moving them from simply one-liners into videos and recorded buyer videos. These are much more convincing and easier to share than those that tend to fade to the background of the website as just more pro forma content.
The negative element of a big up strategy is that can lead to self-promotion on exaggeration that exceeds the reality that you deliver. Of course, creating false expectations is never the way to build a happy customer base. It's always better to root your promotion in the actual differentiators about your business and the good things others say about you.
It's also appropriate to point out the differences between you and your competition. Customers can tell the difference between transparent discussions about pros and cons and things that are entirely one-sided or purely self-promotion. So transparency is always the better approach.
But let’s be real, people trust what others like them say about a business, and you need that review and testimonial help to stand up against the massive reputation of large companies.
THREE. The ultimate big up comes when you appeal to a single audience—your customer.
You should always be answering the questions that make your company big in the eyes of your prospects. When you answer the most pressing problem that your prospect is facing, you are elevated in their eyes because you are addressing their greatest need.
It's pretty common for larger companies to entirely miss this point. They are going to focus on their features, benefits and costs. They present spec sheet-centered websites.
None of those things speak directly to the specific challenges the prospect is facing. The closer your messaging becomes to that need, the stronger the connection.
The more you dial in on the specific challenges, needs, problems, and desires of those you want to serve, and communicate about that, the more important you’ll become in their lives.
FOUR. Bigging up occurs as you ensure you can offer the same customer value as a larger company.
This allows you to get past the cursory review of who offers what. You get upgraded status by just having the same kinds of services and products. The real value consideration happens later.
What many customers lose by working with small companies are things like support warranties and guarantees. When they deal with a big company, people know when they're dealing with deep pockets and while the service might be slow, they will probably get what they need in the end— especially if they complain enough.
To big up, answer the question: What would a best-in-class company offer to assure the customer that they would get what they needed and wanted, and that you would support that product or service?
One area where smaller companies often miss an opportunity is through the use of guarantees, easy returns, and other promises that you can back up.
The simple way to do this is to think about what you would do if a customer was unhappy, and then write it down.
So how well you compete depends on whether you employ these big up strategies. It all depends on how you view yourself, how you collect and share the good things that others say about you, and the way that you help the customer see that your value stands up, no matter the comparison.
We get asked a common question by many businesses that we talk with. They get a look at their competition. They start looking at actually the analytics of how much traffic online and how many ads their big competitors are running. And they just conclude, there's no way they can compete. Well, I want to share with you some ways that you can compete against your largest competition.
I want to share ways you can bust through growth barriers by big up against your competition. What's big up? Well, it's a slang term, and if you listen to a lot of rap, you might hear it. It stands for shouting out or elevating someone into a really high degree. It's sharing respect and building yourself or someone else up.
If you listen to rap, you might hear, "I wanna big up everyone that showed me support over all these years" or "big up on that excellent performance". So big up or being big is slang to make someone important or famous. We'll do our best to big you up this strategy is exactly what small businesses or medium sized businesses need that are struggling to overcome what they perceive as the deficit of having big competition that owns the market.
Big up is one of the strategies that smaller companies can use to gain ground against their larger competitors. I'm gonna share four ways you can use this strategy to improve how well you compete against larger companies. The first one is, is that big up begins in the way you view yourself. There's a great story from the journey of the Israelites from Egypt into Canaan.
When they first got on the border, across the Jordan river from Canaan, they sent in their SEAL team, they sent in their army Rangers to spy out what was going on. And these spies were totally shocked at what they discovered.
They found really big. They found giants there.
And when they came back to report on their spy mission, they said, they're so big that we, we were as if grass hoppers in their eyes.
So they were pretty impressed and pretty nervous about this competition. Unfortunately, that grass hopper perspective is the same way that a lot of businesses feel as they look at their competition. And those who have established presence online and have built a big brand in the market. Some companies have a big impact start by believing that they actually could make a difference.
And so that's where you can big up yourself is by beginning to think about yourself differently. Just because you're small doesn't mean you can't create both profit and impact that's outsized for the size of your company.
And there are benefits to being part of a big company and doing business with them. One of them is economies of scale. We all understand that they can buy things in much larger bulk, produce them and deliver them in larger quantities.
It makes it less expensive for them, but they have a lot of drawbacks too. Uh, they're slower to respond to market shifts. They have a hard time focusing on really specific niches and, in their efforts to grow and scale, they often leave people behind, make them feel insignificant. And this can even degenerate down to the point where they know if you're a customer in this big company, you're not gonna get much attention because you're not a very big account. People understand this.
They know they're getting some benefits from working with a big company, but they're also nervous about how well they're going to be. Big up really starts in the way that you think about yourself and your company, the way you, with yourself and your team and the way that you deliver your products and services to your customers. Small thinking results in small outcomes and being a best in class company does not depend upon that size of your company.
Another way you can big up is by being better and good at using testimonials along with the social proof of having good vendors and partners. Of course, a lot of people do this on their websites. You'll see testimonial little one liners with the little teeny picture. You'll see lots of logos scrolling across the screen.
And that's what everyone does. People come to expect it. So that is becoming kind of a white noise in the background. You've got to up your game.
If you want to get the real benefit from testimonials and from credibility on your website, here's a couple ways you can do that. Be super intentional about the way you collect testimonials, ask your customers for them directly and ask them at different phases of the process to collect those testimonials, ask them specifically to talk about experience, the emotions of getting the services you provide.
Not just the facts of the service, collect those very intentionally and do it on a regular basis. The second thing you need to think about is that many companies need to actually be on a dedicated hunt to find and work with customers that can become case studies.
There's a period of time in the growth of a company in which the only people you should be really trying to find and work for are the ones who can become case studies. They are gonna become the social proof that you need to grow. That's a powerful tool for picking up. You can also get the big up effect with testimonials.
If you move from just single one liners with a little teeny picture to actually getting videos from your customers, work on asking your good customers. If they will make a short video, it doesn't matter if they pick up their phone and do it, talk about the experience of having you work for them.
Those videos are much more powerful and they get a lot more attention than any one liner on your website. Now the negative element of the big up strategy is it can open the door to self exaggeration and self-promotion, and we've all seen advertising, uh, emails, other kinds of things on, on television in which there's an exaggerated sense of self.
And people figure that out right away. It's always better to root your promotion in the actual differentiators that you have about your business and the good things that other people say about you. But it's also appropriate to point out the differentiators what's different between you and your competition.
Customers can tell if you are being transparent in the conversation about pros and cons. If you're really trying to help them, or if you're being entirely one sided and just kind of doing a sales thing. So transparency is always a better approach, but let's be real, people trust what other people say about us more than they trust what we say about ourselves.
So it's important that when we talk about our competition, that we do not make it be a one sided conversation, but really designed to help serve and help the client make a good decision.
The third way to big up your status when it comes to your competition is to focus on a single audience. That's your specific customer, always be focused on answering the questions that will make your company big in their eyes.
The answer that really to the question of how do grow in the face of all this competition is that we have to answer the needs, questions and challenges that our customers are feeling right now. When you speak to their greatest need, that elevates you in a very significant way in their eyes.
It's pretty common though for a larger companies to entirely miss this point altogether. They won't talk about challenges, problems, and, and the other things that customers are actually facing. They're gonna talk only about features, benefits, and costs. It's a lot of spec sheets and that's what the website's built around, but none of those things really will speak directly to the specific challenges that your prospect is facing right now.
And the closer your messaging gets to that, the stronger the trust that you will develop. The more you dial in on these specific challenges, needs and problems and the desires of your prospects, the more you communicate about it, the bigger you'll become in their lives.
A fourth way you can big up occurs as you ensure that you offer the same benefits as a larger company.
This allows you to get past kind of the cursory surface level review of who offers what, if you offer a certain kind of software, a certain kind of hardware, a certain kind of product that the big companies do, make sure you prominently present it so that they understand that you can offer the same things that everybody else does that's larger than you.
And by having the same products and services, the same categories of products and services, it allows you to stand up against competition very effectively. Now what many customers lose by working with smaller companies are things like guaranteed service warranties, and other kinds of guarantees and promises.
These are often lacking in small to medium size businesses. When people know they're dealing with a deep pocket, big company, they might be nervous about the service quality, but they know if they complain enough they'll probably get what they actually wanted.
So one of the ways for you to stand out in a big up your own status in the eyes of your customers is to make sure that you were talking about what you will absolutely guarantee and promise, and a simple way to do that is to think about what you would do if your service or product just failed for a customer.
Would you give their money back?
Would you cancel last month's payment?
Would you come and fix it at no cost?
Whatever you would do anyway for that problem or situation, put that in writing and make that your promise.
So, as you're thinking about the ways that you can raise your status, you've got to start by really thinking about how you view yourself, how you collect the testimonials in a way that they'll actually get paid attention to, how you stand up against the services that others are providing. And all those together will allow you to increase your status and really take on the big guys.