To help you develop points of difference you might like to take the exercise of writing a list of 21 benefits of doing business with you. These should include such areas as your people, experience, location, products, services, brands and remember a benefit is an advantage to the customer.

If you create a feature or what is known as a fact e.g. you have 11 different colours – that is not a benefit to the customer, so what you do is you use the “So what” test which is you take a feature of 11 colours and then you say in your mind So what does this mean to a customer and that means that will then give you the benefit answer. E.g. in this case gives them colours to choose from, colours to match a particular design need, gives them the ability to meet a particular colour perception that they have.

Generally there will be more benefits from one feature than just one simply because when you use the “So what” test it is easy to identify benefits according to the customers knowledge base.

Once you have established your 21 benefits list, and why 21, it is because all of us seem to think that 21 was a magic birthday for us, so it is a nice magic number, you can then start communicating this to your customers either by attaching it the back of a quotation, by putting it up on your website, communicating in your enews, or perhaps even taking 3 or 4 a week and putting them on to the bottom of your email signature or communicating it to staff in the form of signage or the vision message for the week.

In addition to your list of benefits you may have a “USP” this is a unique selling proposition one line description of the benefits of doing business with you.

This is not to be confused with an elevator speech where you have 30seconds and approximately 30 words to get across your opportunity, this is a unique point of difference, e.g. The Warehouse’s “Where everyone gets a bargain” there are a variety of ways to create one of these and it starts from examining the benefits, and then picking out key words that in your customers perception will help them understand in one sentence or 3 or 4 words exactly what it is that is uniquely different about you.

To say that you are great at supplying services for car washing is not enough, an example of a USP would be “For great looking clean cars” in those few words we have a very simple vision for the staff, customers and for everybody to agree to that the end result of you car washing service is that you get a great looking clean car.

The USP that you have created can then be put on the bottom of your email signature, it can be put in your advertising, attached to your brand name, can be put in your advertising and promotion and marketing, it can also be put on name badges, uniforms, building signage anywhere where a customer is likely to come into contact to help them understand the difference between you and another supplier in the market place.

Even if you have the lowest prices in town you can say that is a USP “The lowest prices in town” as long as you can justify it and it does not come into a problem with the Fair Trading Act of willingly misleading the customer.

One of the most important ways of marketing your point of difference is to promote the experience of your people, many customers want to know that you have skilled and experienced executives and management and members of your staff so that there will be less opportunity for quality problems.

By promoting the experience of your staff it is generally done by a photographic display of the staff head & shoulders with the number of years experience or the particular specialties that they have if you are promoting services and then for further details you might promote that on the website, in a printed brochure, and certainly include with your quotes, tenders & submitting for new customers and new business.

It is also a good idea to communicate to existing customers what other customers say about you in the form of excerpts from testimonials, these can be displayed on your website, put in brochures, put in a email, but it gives people the confidence that you are still continuously delivering your point of difference.

Remember it is more important to quote what others say about you than what you say about yourself – it works, it is valuable and it builds understanding.

Of course to get testimonials you have to ask for them and sometimes you have to promote the customer in what would be a good thing for them to say, you can then choose whether you want to reveal who the customer was or just use initials so that as long as you know where they are and you have a record of it but you are not going to get your customer plagued by lots of people ringing up to check up the references.

An ideal coffee table book is a testimonial book, so that customers who are waiting can see what other clients have said about you.

Marketing your point of difference is about communicating, the more frequently you communicate the point of difference the more your staff will consistently deliver it and the more your customers will understand it and cease going to others for quotations.

This article contributed by Richard P Gee, Marketing Strategy Consultant, Conference Speaker and Interactive Author. More details about Richard check out his website


30  years experience in 34  countries  helping  solve  sales and marketing  problems  via  consulting, mentoring,  training, and speaking at business  conferences, plus  hours of one on one  strategy sessions.  Interactive author  of 12 business  books,  hundreds of articles.

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