updated 10/8/2014 2:15:09 PM ET 2014-10-08T18:15:09

The biggest problem that most people have in business and life is in getting noticed. Once your company gains attention, then it's up to you to delight the customers. 

But simply developing that customer awareness is key because without it, frankly you've got nothing. It doesn't matter what the heck you're selling or how amazing the product might be someday. If no one is aware that your product exists, the end of every episode is punctuated with disappointment and maybe a little crying inside, a beer or a bowl of ice cream. 

Related: Projecting a Great Customer Experience a Half Year Ahead

As far as I am concerned, for every sale there are seven stages:

Awareness: A potential customer learns your company exists.

Intrigue: The consumer becomes curious.

Connection: The client likes your product.

Solution. The customer wants to know what's in it for her.

Trust. The consumer believes your company will deliver what she wants.

Consideration. She considers the alternatives.

Close: The customer goes with your solution.  

As is the case with other relationships, you can't skip a step and expect to be well received. You can't try to get to third base from first base. And this is true whether you're selling yourself in an interview or trying to generate revenue. You must first start with generating awareness.  

Two simple things can drive customer awareness: 

1. Believe for a moment that you and your business can be both remarkable and exceptional.    

2. Become remarkable by doing something exceptional that's deserving of remarks.   

Related: Worried About Your Competition? Worry About This Instead.

You might ask, How do I do this? 

I start by making a list of all the ways my business is exactly like the competition. 

Then I look at my current communication and marketing and hunt for the places where I'm doing the exact same things as competitors. 

Through these exploits, I'm not serving to differentiate myself. My business is becoming more like the competition -- less exceptional, less remarkable, less prone to becoming noticed, with less likelihood of whittling out a place in anyone’s consciousness.

So imagine if your competition did something unexpected and acted in a way that would be considered an exception to the rule, worth remarking on the next day at work. Make a list of all the things you might imagine competitors doing to this end. 

Now pick one and go out and do it yourself. 

If you say that the budget is the problem, do it on a smaller scale or find a partner to help carry it out. But do it. Do something. Become the exception not the rule and make consumers aware of your businesss. 

It all starts with generating customer awareness.  

Related: How These 10 Marketing Campaigns Became Viral Hits

Copyright © 2013, Inc.


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