The 1980’s was the heyday of indoor shopping malls in the United States. The closest mall to our house had more than 80 stores including 5 major department stores, so there were plenty of choices.
(In this post I will change the names of the stores, for copyright’s sake.)
We knew if we wanted something artsy and ahead-of-the-trend, we shopped in Solomon’s.
Prom or career-defining business interview coming soon? Hit the racks at Cube for clothes that would impress.
If Cube was too expensive, we combed the selection at Seaform, which had still-very-nice business wear, and even a small “Tall Ladies” section.
Janice’s had “knock-offs” (imitations) of several designers displayed at Cube and Seaform.
And if we simply wanted a basic pair of blue jeans, we headed to Deerfield.
The gist of it: every store had different clothes and fit different budgets. There was something for everyone, and we knew which store would likely have what we wanted.
By the early 1990’s, I noticed Solomon’s and Deerfield kept their unique identities, but three of major department stores started carrying the same designers. Many of the women’s clothes were identical. Our shopping strategy changed in response.
Was the item likely to be carried by Cube, Seaform, or Janice’s? Head to the store that was likely within budget. Check out the prices and sizes. Now walk into the other two department stores and compare. Walk to the store that had the lowest price for the item, and buy it there.
Instead of being unique, the three stores in question offered the same merchandise with no significant differentiation in customer service or perks. So the only thing separating them was price… beyond the possibility of bragging that one “bought it at Cube.”
The stores became interchangeable commodities, and that was their downfall.
Even if that sweater was available at Cube, why would one want to spend more for an identical item? The brand name didn’t justify spending $10-$15 more, in my and most of my friends’ eyes.
We face an identical issue in network marketing, within our companies.
Each independent distributor within a company markets the same products.
So, why would the potential customer buy from YOU?
Price wars among distributors reek of desperation, so steer clear of that.
To stay away from becoming a commodity, do some deep thinking about what makes your distributorship unique.
Here are some ideas.
Do you offer special and memorable customer service? Do you gift wrap physical items? Do you donate to charity for every item purchased? Do you thank your clients in a way that they enjoy and remember? Do you remember and honor your clients for the special occasions in their lives?
Remember, your worth is much more than the sale price of the items you market.
Become comfortable with being you, express that uniqueness in the way you take care of your customer’s needs, and that will build a loyal customer base.
People appreciate being appreciated.
–LYnn Selwa, “The Rocket Science Coach” ™
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