Don’t make this marketing mistake: Failure To Let Your Prospects And Customers Know The Unique Benefits They Get From Doing Business With You.
“Why should I do business with you, instead of any and all other options I have?”
Why Should I Do Business With You?
This is a question that goes through each of your prospect’s minds before they choose to do business with you, and through each of your customer’s minds before they return to buy from you again.
And, it’s a question you must take the time to formulate an answer to. Without such an answer, you become like every other business who sells the same products or services as you.
It doesn’t matter what product or service is being offered, your customers can go nearly anywhere and find the exact same (or very similar) products or services offered for the same price, or perhaps for even less money than what you charge.
Think about yourself, for a minute. Why do you do shop at the same stores or eat at the same restaurants over and over again?
Most likely, it’s because they offer you something you can’t get from their competitors. Maybe they’re closer to where you live or work.
Or maybe you like the way a particular restaurant prepares a certain meal. Perhaps it’s the environment or the people who work there.
Or maybe you just feel comfortable… almost like you’re at home while you’re in their place of business. It may not be one single thing that influences you, but rather a combination of several factors.
Nevertheless, the businesses you continue to frequent give you something special. Something unique. Something you just can’t get anywhere else. It’s that uniqueness that keeps you coming back over and over again.
If you expect people to do business with you rather than your competition, it’s imperative that you have something to offer that your competition doesn’t have.
Preferably something your competition can’t offer. Something that sets you and the products or services you offer apart from everyone else in your type of business.
That’s what’s known as your Unique Competitive Advantage, or UCA.
You may have heard this concept referred to as a “USP” (Unique Selling Proposition), “USA” (Unique Selling Advantage), “PDF” (Personal Differentiating Factor), “SOB” (Statement of Benefit), “UPA” (Unique Purchase Appeal, PDF (Personal Differentiating Factor), or any number of others descriptive names.
In any case, the name or what you call it is not important. No matter what you choose to define your unique factor, it’s one of the most critical, yet most often overlooked marketing tools in business, today.
Without a clearly defined factor that differentiates you are sets you apart from everyone else who offers the same (or similar) products or services as you, your business will be no different than any other business your clients or prospects will encounter, and there will be no reason for others to do business with you rather than your competitors.
On the other hand, a well thought-out, carefully identified UCA can differentiate you and your business and make you stand out from your competition as unique, different, and special, and the business enterprise that’s most desirable to do business with.
Coming up with your own UCA doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s simply a matter of identifying what you have to offer your clients, customers or prospects beyond what the product or service you offer can provide.
Let’s say you’re involved with a product or service that is so similar to others in the marketplace, that there is no significant difference between them.
In that case, your UCA must be something you or your firm or business can offer, exclusive of the features or benefits of the product or service you sell.
Even if the advantage you offer has to do with quality, service, dependability, convenience, professionalism, etc., just to state those facts is not enough.
You must find ways to quantify, or identify specifically, how those items benefit, or provide advantage to the end user. When you use phrases or words like, “Top Quality,” “The Best, Most Reliable Service,” “Dependable Delivery,” or “We offer top-of-the-line products, the best service, and the lowest prices,” they ring hollow in the ears of your prospects and clients.
These are too vague and meaningless. Not only can most of your competitors say the same things, they do say them. Instead, you want to be very clear about how the advantages you offer will benefit your customers.
Tell them exactly what they can expect from you. It may be that you only offer your customers, clients and prospects the highest quality, “top-of-the-line” products. If so, that’s great. But tell them in very specific, definable and quantifiable terms so they understand exactly what “highest quality, top-of-the-line” means to them, and how they’ll benefit.
Maybe you have the lowest prices in the industry or your market area. If so, that’s good. But how much lower are you? How much can your prospects and customers save by buying from you?
Perhaps the support you offer in terms of education, service or marketing assistance is superior to that offered by your competitors.
Or it could be that you offer free shipping, extended hours or better trained salespeople or advisors.
Those are all good things to offer. But, in and of themselves, they don’t say much. To use these features for to their fullest advantage, you must quantify them.
Show your prospects and clients very clearly how much lower, how much better, how much superior, how much of an advantage they’ll get by doing business with you.
Spell out exactly, clearly and specifically what advantages and benefits your customers will gain. Whatever you choose to make your UCA, remember, it must be perceived as desirable to your prospects and customers. In other words, they have to consider it to be of value to them.
If you can, make your UCA that’s something exclusive to you and your business. The more exclusive or proprietary you can make it, the less competition you’ll have.
If you’re the only one who offers that something extra, whatever it may be, your clients or prospects can’t get it from anyone else at any price. It’s simply not available.
And, if that something extra is exclusive to you, no one can compete with you, and that gives you a great advantage in your marketplace.
That something then, whatever it is, becomes your Unique Competitive Advantage… your UCA. It’s the thing, the reason, the advantage, that will make it not only worthwhile, but beneficial and advantageous… even desirable for others to do business with you.
Now here’s what you can do:
Make A List
Take out a sheet of paper and write down every advantage you can think of why someone should do business with you. Get a big list. Don’t worry about whether or not your competitors can offer the same advantages or not at this time. Just get some points down on paper. Think in terms of how your business might fit in the following categories:
- The name of your business. Does it say what you do, and position you in such a way that there can be no mistake? Can there be any doubt what kind of business “The Hair Club For Men” is in? What about your business? Can you use the name as an advantage?
- Exclusive niche. Are you trying to be all things to all people? Or do you occupy and dominate (or at least have the potential to dominate) a certain market? The tighter a group you can cater to, the more control you’ll have and the more opportunity you can have to dominate and control it.
- Expertise. Do you have some type of specialized understanding of a particular market segment so you can become a recognized expert? If you do, when people look to you for help and expertise they can’t get anywhere else, you’ll have a tremendous advantage.
- Market positioning. How are you viewed in your marketplace? How do you stack up against your competition? What is your market’s perception of you versus other competing businesses? Domino’s didn’t go head to head with other pizza shops trying to make a better pizza. Instead, they went after quick, in-home delivery, and nearly completely dominated a market in a very short time.
- Price. How are your prices compared to those charged by your competitors? Do you have the lowest prices for your products, and operate as a “discount” operation? Or, do you take a higher price-point position and operate at a more “exclusive” level? Either position can be an advantage depending on how you position your business and the products and services you sell around it.
These are just a few of the areas that you may want to consider as competitive advantages. Of course, there are more, but at least this will get you thinking.
Segregate Your List Into Three Groups
- Those exclusive to you or your firm. (Your competition cannot offer these.)
- Those that can be offered by both you and your competition.
- Those currently offered by both you and your competition, but which they are not capitalizing on presently.
The best advantage you can gain will be from those in Group 1… those areas in which your competitors cannot perform. These are things only you can do for whatever reason, and you will want to capitalize on them to your fullest advantage.
Group 2 lists things offered both by you and others. Don’t neglect these. While they’ll be the weakest of the three groups, with a little work and creativity, you may be to combine parts of these with those you have identified in the other groups.
The last group, Group 3, can be used to a real advantage. But you must be careful. While your competitors aren’t currently using these, if they notice that you are beginning to use them, they may see what you’re doing, recognize that they too can offer the same advantages, and begin including them in their promotions.
Formulate Your UCA
Begin with the strongest point you’ve come up with. Think of how it applies to your customers in terms of why they should do business with you rather than your competitors.
One way to do this is to pretend someone has just asked you what you do, or why they should do business with you instead of anyone else. Your reply should follow the following two-part formula:
“You know how (point out a common problem your customers face)…”
“Well, what I do is (provide a solution to that problem)…”
Developing an effective UCA doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. But it absolutely must be done if you expect to gain and maintain any kind of an advantage in today’s marketplace.