Create Your Special Sauce

Recently my partner and I went for dinner at one of our favourite restaurants in the city; a lively sports bar in the heart of downtown.

Our friend is the head chef there, and is well-known for his delightfully tasty dishes and broad, easy smile. A natural in the kitchen and wonderfully warm and cheerful guy. He’s always quick to laugh and his personality is infectious.

He’s one of those old-school chefs who often doesn’t follow recipes – he invents new dishes on a whim based on what he and his friends love. Many of his creations are seasoned with a finger lickin’ good barbecue sauce everyone raves about.

One such sauce was created using a locally crafted whisky for an event held at the distillery and was so popular the distillery wanted their chefs to be able to make it. One person who works at the distillery practically begged him for the recipe and rights to make the sauce.

Of course, there is no recipe to follow; it was created purely based on taste so if they want it they have to have him make it.

So, you’re probably thinking, “Great story, Sandra, but what does this have to do with me?

A lot. In fact, today I’m going to tell you how you can create a loyal customer base filled with clients who are happy to pay your rates, bring you projects you’re thrilled to work on, and become your advocates …all by swiping our friend’s M.O.!

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What’s Your Special Sauce?

My experience with our friend’s barbecue sauce made me think about you – my clients and readers. Every once in a while, someone will say to me, “I run a service-based business in a highly competitive industry. I find it hard to set myself apart from the competition. Everyone wants everything fast, cheap, and good! How am I supposed to make a profit when it’s a race to the bottom?”

Whoa, let’s take a deep breath because I’m hearing a lot of panic here! I’ve got a solution that will work for you – if you invest the time and effort to make it happen. I tell these clients to forget about the race for a few minutes, about those last few prospects who demanded discounts, and about the meetings that went nowhere. Those people aren’t your ideal client.

Now, think about what made you start your business in the first place. What were you born to do? Who do you most want to work with? And what can you do for them that no one else can? That’s your special sauce!

One of my clients was facing this challenge and figured it out for herself a few years ago. Before she discovered conversion copywriting, Tarzan Kay struggled to eke out a living from her writing. But she got smart, buckled down, and decided that she was going to build her business from the ground up doing what she wanted to do. Today, she earns megabucks working with successful clients she raves about daily. She created a special sauce, and you can, too!

Here’s a great recipe to follow when trying to find your sauce:

1) A Delicious Base Your Ideal Client Will Love (Find a Popular Niche)

Part of what makes Tarzan a success is that she talks about the kind of copy she writes right on her website  – laser-focused conversion copy that attracts just the type of customers her clients are looking for and motivates them to buy their product or service. She also states up front that she doesn’t blog or manage social media accounts.

She specifies the clients she works with – heart-centred business owners or purpose-driven entrepreneurs, and tells them they need to be confident and prepared to take risks. Being this honest doesn’t lose her customers – it attracts the right ones. And the wrong ones move on.

Keeping with the culinary analogy above, not everyone is going to love your dish. That’s okay because you only want to spend your time serving the people who will. When you know who your ideal client is, you can market to them, and they will be drawn in by your skills, experience and branding.

2) A Dash of Sweet Stuff (Wonderful You!)

Visit Tarzan’s website and it’s like her personality jumps out at you and wraps you in a warm hug (without smothering you or being weird, she’s amazing!). She just has an awesomely positive, quirky and loving vibe that she shines on everyone she speaks with. You can’t help but like her from the moment you meet her. She’s passionate about her work, loves her life, and genuinely cares about helping her clients succeed.

Take a cue from her and let your personality shine in everything you do! That means thinking about everything from your branding and marketing to how you approach that first discovery call, give webinars, guide your clients through the on-boarding process and conduct in-person meetings.

3) A Cup of Wholesome Veggies Packed with Nutrients (Your Competitive Edge)

Along with being a positive person with a rockin’ brand, Tarzan has the smarts to back it up. One of the many secrets to writing fantastic copy is knowing your client’s clients as well as they do. So, when she brings a new client on, she doesn’t just interview her client, write their content and call it a day; she finds out who their audience is, researches them thoroughly and talks to them directly to learn how they speak and what resonates with them.

So, dig deep and discover what you do for your clients that none (or very few) of your competitors do. A good way to determine your competitive edge is to ask your existing clients the right questions.

Also, ask yourself what you love doing and what you’re good at.

Maybe you specialize in launches or social media management and strategy, provide useful bonuses or offer stellar customer service they can’t find anywhere else. Discover what it is, promote it to the right audience with the right message in the right context, and you’re golden.

Wrapping Up

As an entrepreneur, you’re the head chef at your company – it’s up to you to discover the ingredients to that special sauce only you can make! By identifying your niche, letting your personality shine through in your brand and in your interactions online and off, and promoting your competitive edge, you can not only build a loyal customer base but turn them into advocates.

What ingredients will make up your Special Sauce? Tell us about it (without giving away any secrets!) in the comments!

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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