Standing Out From the Crowd in Business

Standing out from the crowd in the hospitality industry can be difficult to achieve. Conor Kenny from Conor Kenny and Associates shares his advice.

You don’t need me to tell you that the world has changed. It has. The question is, have you? More than that, do you understand the changes that are occurring day by day? Have you analyzed them? Have you understood them? Shouldn’t you?

All Change

Seth Godin is one of the USA’s leading marketers. A recent blog captured what’s needed. Here is a shorten version of his “Pivots For Change”:

When industry norms start to die, people panic. It’s difficult to change when you think that you must change everything in order to succeed. Changing everything is too difficult.

Consider for a minute the pivot points available to you:

  • Keep the machines in your factory, but change what they make.
  • Keep your customers, but change what you sell to them.
  • Keep your providers, but change the profit structure.
  • Keep your industry but change where the money comes from.
  • Keep your staff, but change what you do.
  • Keep your mission, but change your scale.
  • Keep your products, but change the way you market it.
  • Keep your customers, but change how much you sell each one.
  • Keep your technology, but use it to do something else.
  • Keep your reputation, but apply it to a different industry or problem.

New Opportunity and a New World Order

Change simply means a new (and different) landscape. What worked won’t, what is needed is different. The old way won’t be the new way and lazy businesses waiting “for the tide to turn” will perish.

Buying has changed and buyers have different priorities. Therefore, how you sell has to reflect that.
Big general companies are breaking up into smaller niche companies. Expertise is required and ‘general’ won’t appeal.

This means two things for you: first, you must be crystal clear about what you are, what makes you desirable and different and who you are appealing to. Secondly, how you sell, market and communicate that must also change.

As the wise wag said, “if you want to be that one-in-a-million kind of guy, don’t live in China. Why? Because there are a billion people in China and that means there will be a thousand guys just like you!”

Being different is far more than simply attracting attention. It is about doing things in a meaningful, relevant and innovative way. It is also about a different attitude. That attitude might just mean refreshing or rebooting your thinking and your team.

Partners or Pirates?

Many businesses regard suppliers as the enemy. They drive hard bargains, have little loyalty and will execute at will. This is a short term and naive strategy. A good deal must be a good deal for both parties equally. If it’s not, it simply does not last. It must benefit both missions and it must respect common goals.

Every supplier brings additional wisdom, expertise and knowledge to your meeting. Have you explored it? Asked for it or listened to it? If not, you should. Suppliers can be your greatest ally, source of ideas and salesmen. Equally, if you constantly try to squash them, don’t expect your reputation to be angelic.

Take a leading drinks brand that supply you. In my experience, some of the world’s best marketers come from drinks companies. Is that extra free keg or case really going to change your business? Of course not. However, spend a few hours with their Marketing Director or Brand Manager and see how their ideas and expertise fill your cup.

Pirates on the other hand ought never to rise to positions of power. An unscrupulous supplier should never be a partner, full stop.


Decoupling is everywhere. Big breakups form little experts. Experts and expertise need a common umbrella. That umbrella is often formed as an association, and associations have a powerful place.

Imagine 1,000 individual Bed and Breakfast owners uniting to a cause? This means that the power of one can suddenly equal an extensive lobby group. The moral? Little people can form big groups – big groups have influence and a powerful voice.

In a recession there is every evidence to support the notion that meetings increase. People need contact, reassurance and a reason to be sociable. In business, this equals networking.

Today, networking has never been more important. It’s simply a means of getting out there: meeting, greeting, talking, sharing and selling. If you are not making new alliances, associations and networks, prepare to join the Pirates in their demise.

People Power

There is no secret to great sales. It’s simple: it’s about working hard and solving problems. It’s about going the extra mile – everyday. It’s about listening, learning and responding. It’s about being respected not popular. It’s about seeing change and responding to new needs.

Finally, it’s still as simple as smiling, meeting and being there.

If you don’t believe me, look at why your competitor is successful? Now look at what they do.

By Conor Kenny

About Conor Kenny and Associates: Conor Kenny and Associates are experts in sales, marketing, sales training and people development. They help you to get the most out of your people and your business. As skilled marketing consultants and experienced experts in innovation, sales, marketing and communications, they know that you and your people have skills too. Companies don’t innovate. People do.

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