You have lots of competitors if you sell a product. But none if you sell yourself.

It is easy for you to believe that consumers are buying products. You’ve probably been taught that’s why they visit your website, call you or walk in your door.  In fact, they are searching for something deeper and more meaningful than just product. They want someone to trust.  Heck, everybody has products. And to most, short of brand, they all look the same.

You’re likely a connoisseur of your category who enjoys dissecting the differences between products.  It is what art and watch collectors, and wine connoisseurs do too.  You likely see things in products that customers will never see – or care about.  Your customers want someone to trust.

Ever wonder why your website has hundreds or thousands of visitors each month, but most bounce and only a small percent visit your showroom?  Or as one retailer said to me “I get more LIKES on Facebook than I get visitors to the store.”  Ditto for your followers on Instagram and Pinterest.

Some mysterious power stopped them.  It’s the power of trust.  This is why marketing is essential – awareness is the first step to trust.

Like the television show from 50 years ago, we’ve entered the Twilight Zone. Smart people don’t make sense, numbers don’t make sense; the world doesn’t make sense and the lack of common sense is profound. No one is safe, and everybody is angry at somebody. Not necessarily the same body; but somebody.

The world, your community and your prospects need someone to trust.  The answer you.

The primary difference between big boxes and you is that you serve your community. You invest in your community while big boxes have a fiduciary responsibility to send profits to their stockholders.  You, on the other hand, have a vested and moral responsibility to serve your community.  You, as a local entrepreneur, are engaged because it’s important to you on a personal level.  You children go to school with your customer’s children, you eat at the same restaurants, you’re involved in community activities and you have the same concerns about how you live.  Local businesses, including your business, define your community.

Customers will talk up price because we’ve taught them to do so.  Don’t be tricked.  Price is simply their default.  Price is a buying signal looking for a better answer.  Give it to them.  There is no entitlement, you must demonstrate how you are different, the value you bring them and your value to the community.  If you fail to do so and the prospects doesn’t see the difference, then they will succumb to price.  It’s what they’ve been taught.

No one ever acquired anything from someone they didn’t trust.  Trust trumps price.

Competing on price against big boxes is fool’s game.  Their cost of business may be half of your cost of business. You cannot compete on selection either because every product in every category is online. And, even service or installation is difficult to leverage because everyone lies about their service and installation being the best.

Your unique selling proposition is you.

Be special, think differently and ensure the most innovative displays, culture and branding in your showroom are uniquely yours.  Consider it your duty to make each customer’s day with a sincere compliment.  Establish trust by wrapping your culture and behaviors around values centered on serving your community.

Foundational trust is how you eliminate competition.