I live in a college town, which is bliss for any parent of small children. This city is teeming with broke, well-educated young people, so the market for babysitters is vast. However, it can be hard to differentiate the candidates. The ones who stand out are those who can communicate their understanding of what my family needs and their ability to provide it.
This is our candidate pool: smart, experienced young women who all charge the going rate. My kids – who are happy to play with almost anyone who is happy to play with them – have liked most of the people we’ve brought in to interview. So how have we picked the two or three babysitters upon which we rely? We choose the ones who make our lives easier.
It turns out that it’s not actually that hard to stand out in a crowded market. When you have a similar product and level of experience as your competitors, it’s essential to make it easy for customers to do business with you.
Our favorite sitter shows up early. She brings craft projects for the kids. She makes their dinner, and she cleans up before I get home. She doesn’t cancel at the last minute. Whether our favorite sitter thinks about her value to us this explicitly or not, she clearly understands our needs as her customers, and she communicates her eagerness to meet and exceed those needs.
For any small business, success can hinge on effectively articulating that one simple thing: I understand what you’re looking for, and I can deliver it better than anyone else.