How Are You Different?
The problem with best practices is that they're usually someone else's best practices. You need to find your own best practices and then follow them, hone them and make them your unique brand. One of the best ways to be different is to be totally focused on the needs and wants and desires of your customers.
There are a lot of problems for every kind of customer from the largest to the smallest. Everyone is faced with changing marketplaces, shifts in how products and services are sold and the commoditization of everything. Research your customers' pain points. Look at the challenges facing you in our industry, in your market and think about the common areas. In diving deep into where they hurt, you just might have the added bonus of better understanding how to create new and innovative approaches to your own business.
What is your model? If it's not working, change it or throw it away. Your purpose is to solve problems and create results. How are you going to do that? The answer to that question cannot be found in old models, broken models or in what worked pre-Internet with a predictable buyer following established paradigms.
Be different and risk being misunderstood. You'll find your niche and you'll find people who understand your passion and your mission to simply relieve pain and solve problems.
Here's the thing. Problem solvers always make money. Specialists always make more than generalists. Those who stand out get noticed. And yes, those who stand out get shot at. But at least people are paying attention.
Your value lies in creating value. There's little value in "me-too." Did you ever wonder why there are no trade shows for advertisers (end users) where all the exhibitors are distributors? Probably because every booth would look the same, like the yellow pages of old and the distributor websites of today. The value proposition of finding any product has been worn out. The internet provides that service and it does it with a focus on the lowest price. You need to create new value. Be a problem solver. Bundle more services. Present proposals instead of quotations.