Stand out and ditch the USP! The old fashioned Marketing Experts will tell you that in order to stand out from your competitors, you have to work out your USP – your Unique Selling Proposition. They will tell you to promote the fact that you’re cheaper, or better, or faster, or brighter, or bigger, or more unique …
There are two problems with this way of trying to stand out:
- Firstly, if you sell a service, such as coaching, consulting or training, then you’re selling something that can’t be seen by your clients until you’ve delivered it. If you use the old fashioned method of finding a USP, you’ll be focusing purely on the features of what you sell and not the benefits and the end results that clients receive when they work with you.
- Secondly, everyone else is already telling their customers that they’re different, but in the same way as everyone else. You can’t all be the cheapest, or best, or the World’s number one!
So what is it that really makes you different? Here’s an easier way to work it out.
Whatever you sell, people will buy from you based on emotion. The majority of our decisions are made emotionally and then backed up by rational reasoning. This means that in order to stand out, you have to understand the emotions behind the buying decisions that your clients make. There are six different emotional reasons that people buy a service. Each business has one main emotional pull for clients.
Since your business reputation is formed by the emotions that your clients feel when they’re working with you, this means there are six Emotional Reputation Strategies to choose from.
Your business will have one – the main reason that clients buy from you. Which one is yours?
- Certainty – clients work with you because they know you’ll get the job done. You provide security and consistency. You’re a safe pair of hands.
- Connection – your clients know you’ll be able to connect them with the people they need to know. That’s what makes you different.
- Contribution – helping clients to make a contribution to something bigger than themselves is why they buy from you, if Contribution is what makes you stand out.
- Growth – clients work with you because they know you’ll help them with their personal or business growth. They want continual personal and business development.
- Significance – your clients know that you’ll help them feel valued. They want to feel more important and needed in whatever they do.
- Variety – some clients like uncertainty and change, so your clients might buy from you because of the huge variety of solutions you can offer them.
Stand out and ditch the USP!
When I first looked at this list, I thought that my clients bought from me because I helped them with the Growth of their business, because of the Connection to others I gave them and due to the wonderful Variety of the marketing work I could do for them.
That’s what I tried to focus my marketing on.
However, when I started asking my clients what they really wanted from me, the resounding answer was Certainty. They don’t buy because of ‘exciting’ Social Media or dramatic business growth. They want a safe pair of hands for their marketing and need someone to guide them and give them the best, most appropriate advice. They trust me to support them in getting them great results.
This is what they ask me for. When clients and contacts recommend me, they tell other people that I will look after them.
At first, I was rather disappointed. I wanted my clients to buy for a more exciting reason than just Certainty. After all, marketing is fun, isn’t it?! Not for my ideal clients, it appears!
In my industry I have thousands of competitors. Many of them haven’t been providing marketing services for very long, or they’ve decided that marketing is easy to do, so they’ve set up as a social media ‘expert’. But if you don’t have much experience in something and you don’t have the tools and the team to get work done on a regular basis, to get great results, then you can’t meet your clients’ need for Certainty. They won’t trust you to look after them and their businesses. And they certainly won’t recommend you to other businesses.
Stand out and ditch the USP!
So I’ve decided I like the fact that my clients buy from me and keep coming back, because of Certainty. I like that they want me to be straight talking, giving them practical, down to earth advice. I like the way they breathe a sigh of relief when I tell them they don’t need to understand anything technical, in order to grow a really successful coaching, consulting or training business.
And I like being able to promote my business on that Emotional Reputation Strategy, because it really is what makes me different.
What’s your Emotional Reputation Strategy? Why do your clients really buy from you?