Think about it this way: There will always be a competitor with more money for advertising, marketing, and expensive client dinners. But if your competitor is in that mindset, what are the chances they are thinking about building their clients by educating them on how to do their jobs better, how to be more organized, or how to save $100 per month by using this special type of light bulb over that one?
In the book Rework, the gents from 37signals give the example of Gary Vaynerchuk. Gary took his small, family-run wine business online and made it a huge success by educating people via Wine Library TV. It was a simple idea: teaching people why this wine goes well with that dish or how this wine is different because the grapes are from Italy. I’m sure Gary never thought that this approach could be so beneficial, but he took his mom-and-pop wine shop from a decent business to a multi-million dollar operation by “out-teaching his competition”. (Check out a few of these videos of Gary!)
If you take the time to develop resources that your customers (and potential customers) see as a free, value-add, that goes a long way to establishing trust and building a long term relationship with them.
Taking the out-teaching approach isn't easy: it takes a significant investment in time and energy. Fortunately, there are lots of tools out there to make it easier. Here are a few to get you started:
Bottom line: It may take a bit more effort to out-teach your competitors, but the impact can be huge!
P.S. Don’t worry about your competition catching wind of this, they are typically to big to care. Even if they did, that’s a good things because you are the one leading this charge. They would have to play catch up to you. A nice reversal of roles, right?
Editor’s note: Simply put, we at Mindflash are big fans the 37signals’ ethos . Usefulness, simplicity, and ease-of-use are principles we strive for. We also think that these principles apply to online training, whether you are building a full blown LMS or developing a simple eLearning courses. In this blog series, guest blogger Lee Graham will explore a few of 37signals’ concepts and discuss how we can apply them to the online training realm.