What does “unconventional” mean? When we were young, it often meant being ridiculed, considered a “freak” and even being ostracized. And just like when we were young, we often got in the habit of “following along” for the sake of comfort. The rule becomes “because it’s always been done this way.” We’ve been trained and conditioned to get in line; to mimic the paths set before us. The problem with that is that sometimes what is considered the “norm” is no longer useful, effective or moral. “Because it’s always been done that way” is no reason to continue to do or follow patterns and paths that yield no fruit or we no longer believe in.
As entrepreneurs, going along with the status quo can sometimes lead us away from our core beliefs. It is only when we realign ourselves to honor our purpose and principles with practice that things begin to take a turn for the betterment of ourselves and the benefit of our clients.
We all know a few bad apples can spoil the barrel. Just think about the real estate industry. The image of Realtors and loan officers has taken its toll over the years. Anyone working in that capacity certainly has been challenged with earning the trust and respect of clients; which is at the core of longevity for any business.
Sometimes unconventional business practices can help you realign your principles, practices and purpose; which is what happened when Andrew Thompson (www.createpeakperformance.com) helped one of his Realtor clients. It was a clever marketing exercise that not only reconnected the Realtor to his core values, but provided him with an opportunity to support his community. His client was challenged with no budget and wanted to create a positive perception of himself and his profession -- Realtors.
Andrew told his client to go home, put on the best suit he owned and take his briefcase and head Downtown. Once there, grab a make-shift cardboard sign and write, “will sell your home for food” in black marker, hold the sign in front of his chest and make sure as many people as possible see it. Over the course of 3 days, more than 500 people came to him perplexed. When he had an opportunity to speak with some of them, he told them that if they listed their home with him, he would donate 10% of his commission to the local food shelter in the area. Andrew’s client generated over $68,000 in commissions that directly and indirectly resulted from those 72 hours. He not only challenged the conventional wisdom of his colleagues, but he created a positive perception of himself and his profession with no budget and only a box of business cards.
Andrew has recommended the use of this tactic in his consultations since, yet the Realtor was the only one to take on the challenge.
“This could apply to just about any industry and it's a great way to send the right message about yourself, your company and what you stand for.” – Andrew Thompson
Don’t let the status quo prevent you from staying true your core values. Leverage your principles to gain an advantage over your competitors. Reconnect with the moral code you set for yourself and your business and find a way to showcase those ideals in your marketing. Elevate your practices to match your principles so that not only do you naturally draw like-minded clients, but your clients come to hold you to a higher standard.
3 ways to compete via unconventional business practices:
- Change the experience. Provide an experience that encourages clients’ trust and respect
- Change the delivery. Meet people where they are to increase their comfort level
- Change the expectations. Engage your clients with a new outlook on your product/service
Micro Business Therapy™ Moment: What is the perception of your industry and its professionals among clients? What perception do your clients have of you? How do you know? What can you do to
Where can you make a difference in your work? Where can you reconnect with your core beliefs and principles for the benefit of your clients?
Micro Business Therapist™, A.Michelle Blakeley, is a small business professional with over two decades of experience in sustainable, holistic and progressive business practices who has successfully guided new and seasoned small business owners through the daily challenges of operating a small business with timely and transformative small business advice. She is featured in Forbes.com and the Financial Post as one of 30 Women Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter, contributor for the San Francisco Examiner and Women On Business; curator of the online magazine, Micro Business Therapy™ and was the host of Simple Truths for Women Entrepreneurs on BlogTalkRadio.com.