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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

How can your business compete against 7,000 other marketing images per day?

If you’re a business owner, then I don’t need to tell you that there’s a lot of competition out there. It can be hard to get your message across when there are soooooo many other messages in your space alone.

I attended a webinar recently where the speaker advised us that we’re exposed to a whopping 7,000+ marketing and sales images every single day – and you’re trying to compete against that!!!

So what’s the answer? You must be unique! Actually, it’s more than that. You can’t just be unique, you have to be able to articulate and promote your uniqueness.

Essentially, you need to give your target market a compelling reason to buy from you rather than someone else. It’s these differences that make one business, product, or service more attractive than another in the customers’ eyes.

So how do you develop a Unique Service Proposition? Well there are three main types:

1. An 'Actual' Unique Service Proposition. That is, there's something genuinely unique about your business, the products, or services you provide or the way in which you provide these products and services.

Creating your Unique Service Proposition will revolve around expressing that actual uniqueness in a way that's meaningful to your potential customers and clients. This is often easier to do if you sell a product rather than a service.

2. The second is a 'Created' Unique Service Proposition. That is, you create a point of differentiation between your business and your competitors.

You may have heard me talk about "Paddy the Dentist." It's one of my favourite (true!) stories. Paddy openly acknowledged that there were a lot of other good dental practices in the area, so he knew he had to make his practice unique if he wanted to do really well. He interviewed his clients to find out what they hated most about going to the dentist. Turns out the overwhelming majority claimed it was the waiting room - the smell, the noise, the anticipation of pain.

So Paddy turned his waiting room into a tea salon! When you arrived at his surgery there was classical music being piped through the waiting room, you were shown to a comfortable seat and handed a menu to choose from a selection of over 50 tea varieties. It was served to you from a pot in a fine china cup and saucer. The experience was indulgent and relaxing. Can you guess the result for Paddy’s business? Phenomenal! Paddy had created a difference that certainly gave customers a compelling reason to go to him, stay with him, and refer him to others.

3. The third kind of Unique Service Proposition, the ‘Perceived Service Proposition,’ is also critically important - your Unique Services Proposition does not (in fact) have to be unique.

You may not have anything in your business that’s totally unique. But if you’re the first one to articulate a difference (even though others do the same), you’ll stand out in the marketplace as if you are unique.Simply because you’ve been the first to articulate it.

I mentioned earlier that not only do you need to offer something unique, but you need to articulate it. It sounds obvious, but most businesses have never articulated those differences. They expect people to buy from them simply because they’re in the marketplace. Most simply say ‘buy from us.’ But they don’t give the potential customer a clear and compelling reason why they should do so. 

Those things that make you unique, must permeate your entire business: the way your team members present themselves, the way you deal with your customers or clients, the way your business itself is presented, all your marketing material, even your signage, if possible.

I hope this has started the creative juices flowing, and that you’ll take some time to work out the key point of differentiation between you and your competitors to help the customers identify that they really do need to choose you over anyone else. 

For a detailed fact sheet on developing your Unique Service Proposition (including lots of examples), just click here

And if you’d like to hear more of what I have to say on the matter, click here for a recording of my most recent “You & Your Business” radio segment on 98.1FM Radio Eastern (or ask me about a one-on-one session to help identify a Unique Service Proposition for your business).

Talk soon,

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