Obviously, you can see how this may relate to the first step. In many cases, something to differentiate your business can be as simple as serving a very tight niche market. It also can be the way in which you package your services. It can be in the way you price your services. It can be in an image that is related to your service. It could be your reputation for a special process.
The problem in small and medium businesses is that your prospects really can’t tell the difference. One accountant looks like another. One electrician looks like another. It may not be true, but unless you’re spending millions of dollars in advertising to tell your story, in many cases, they can’t tell the difference.
What happens is they pick up the phone and ask how much. That’s the way in which they determine one from another. They base their decision on price.
If you can find a way, something that really makes you the obvious choice in your industry or in your market, and then you tell the world, you will very quickly rise to the top of your market. Price really is not going to be the same issue for you at all.
A lot of times people say they provide quality work and fair pricing. Unfortunately, those aren’t differences. Those are expectations.
Your prospects believe that if you’re in business, if you’ve got a business card or a sign out in front of your store, that you meet those expectations.
Here’s a suggestion that you can pursue yourself or have an outside firm do it for you. Interview a handful of your clients and ask them specifically why they buy from you, how they found you, what makes them stay with you and why they refer business to you.
In many cases people who buy from you or use your services are more prepared to tell what you do that is different or unique than you will ever be. SME and small business owners, we’re just doing it how we think it should be done or how our parents taught us to treat people.
Very often, you will find that there are little touches you provide that really are a big deal to your market or your specific clients. Those can be the things you want to tap into and communicate how you’re different.
Another great place to look is with your competitors. What do they claim to do that is special? What don’t they claim? Where is your industry not served? These can always be great places for you to go out and recognize nobody is doing something, promising something or putting themselves out as an expert in a particular area. Maybe that’s a place that you can grab on to and have as your point of difference.
Once you’ve gone out and done your interviews, the hard creative work begins. What you want to be able to do is to let people know how you’re different and unique. You can put it into a powerful short phrase.
Try to answer a question with your marketing phrase, your core message. The question is “What do you do for a living?” Imagine you’re sitting at a party or on an airplane and somebody asks what you do for a living.
Instead of saying I’m a marketing consultant or an electrician or an accountant or a lawyer, which are essentially just titles but they don’t tell them anything, we could say “We teach SME and small business owners how to double what they charge”. You could say you show homeowners how to get the most from their thermostat.
Again, you’ll be tapping into your target market. You’ll be tapping into something that you provide that’s maybe different. It almost forces the person beside you to ask how you do that.
Capture a phrase that really gets at the heart of what your market is missing or at a frustration or something you do that is exceptional in eight or ten words. That can become not only the way to differentiate your business, but it can also become the real seed of all of your marketing messages. Everything will grow from that statement.
When you go back to your staff and associates, teach everyone in your organisation how to answer the question of what you do for a living.
You create this memorable phrase based on what you know your ideal target market wants and that you can deliver. Teach everyone in your organisation some variation of it, and then expand upon it in all of your marketing messages.
This is Step Two in our 7 Steps to getting your business to hum. Continue to read Step Three – Package Your Business.