In the past I’ve written about creating a gap between your company and the competition.   Widening the gap meant you were outdistancing the competition and gaining market share. 


I recently worked with a gentleman, Ron Dunford of Schreiber Foods, and he has something to add to this simple strategy.  His strategy to widen the gap between him and his competition, is to narrow the gap between him and his customer.  This isn’t about market share and picking up new customers.  It is about customer loyalty.  In other words, the closer you get to the customer and the more you meet their needs, the smaller the gap becomes between you and your customer.  That ultimately puts distance – a wider gap – between you and your competition. 


What a simple way of looking at building loyalty!  Over time you will learn all types of things about your customers – very specific things such as buying patterns, special needs and more.  The more you know, the better equipped you are to deliver what you sell the way they want it. 


Schreiber Foods sells cheese – and lots of it.  Market share may be about getting more customers, but “cheese share” is about a customer buying all of their cheese from Schreiber, and no one else.


A stockbroker sells investments.  Market share for a broker would mean more clients.  But “wallet share” is about an individual client having the confidence and trust to invest with just one broker, who becomes the trusted advisor to take care of all of the client’s financial and investing needs.


Coca Cola sells soft drinks.  Market share was getting more consumers to buy their soft drinks.  Then they came up with the concept of “body share,” which is about how much Coca Cola product is consumed by an individual.  That is why Coke’s list of products continues to grow, even including fruit juices and water.  Their strategy is that if a consumer drinks anything, it should be a Coca Cola product.


Focus on what the customer wants and needs.  What are they asking for?  Narrow the gap between what you offer and what the customer wants and you will widen the gap between you and your competition.


Shep Hyken, CSP, CPAE is the Chief Amazement Officer of Shepard Presentations.  As a professional speaker and author, Shep helps companies develop loyal relationships with their customers and employees.  For more information on Shep’s speaking programs and books, please contact (314) 692-2200. Email:  Web: For information on customer service training, go to

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