Two ideas that have been at the forefront of my thinking over the last week or so are “The Differentiation Gap” and High Impact Modern Selling.
Both go hand in hand.
“The Differentiation Gap” being a simple concept that describes the difference between the way you see yourself and how the market sees you and your business.
If you have an extremely wide gap between how you view yourself and how the market views you, likely you are going to be caught in “The Commodity Trap.”
Which means that you are going to struggle to get the fees you deserve and you are likely competing with other undifferentiated service providers for business.
On the other hand, as you narrow “The Differentiation Gap,” you are going to be able to command higher fees, be more selective in the business you take on, and likely have people coming to you because they only want to work with you.
The second part of this, “High Impact Modern Selling” is a concept that I came up with to describe the way that business is constantly changing and the way we buy and sell needs to keep up with it.
It is a longer theory of selling that I will cover in a series of posts here and a workshop that I am putting together, but when you put the two together, you come up with a pretty powerful incentive to focus on creating a unique selling factor for your company.
The question I received from a friend last night that stuck with me overnight was, “How do you go about finding your unique selling factor?”
Here’s a few ideas that you can use to help differentiate yourself from the competition.
Focus on Outcomes:
If you spend anytime surfing the Internet and looking at the marketing material of organizations, you begin to see a pattern.
That pattern is one where people are focusing on specifications, attributes, technology, methodology, etc.
In all likelihood, we can just say the catch all, “stuff that they think is important.”
The key difference to drawing up a unique selling factor for your business is that you need to think about outcomes.
Which shifts the conversation from what is important to you onto what is important to the prospect.
You might want to improve closing speed.
That’s an outcome.
Your tools and service may cut the time it takes to close a business deal.
That’s an outcome.
The key when thinking about outcomes is that you need to think about how the client is going to view value from a tangible and intangible spot.
How will you save them time? Money? Effort?
How will you help them make more money? Have a better reputation? Improve their brands standing?
Those are outcomes and they are the start of any conversation about unique selling factor.
What Stories Are You Telling?
I’ve been floating the idea of putting together a webinar on “High Impact Content Marketing” for several reasons:
- Content marketing is the biggest buzzword going and most content fails to deliver much value. In fact, too much content is just rehashed, unhelpful collections of meaningless ideas, stats, or messages that are meant to boost “engagement” but which actually just make people much more likely to tune you out going forward.
- Content marketing, when done well, can be a key differentiator for your business.
I mention it like this because you have to be prepared to tell your story early and often.
I’m on the record as saying that everything you do is marketing.
That’s why despite having a pretty extensive marketing background, I don’t really bite on fancy advertising and marketing campaigns in a lot of cases because without something of substance behind them, they are a waste of time and money.
I believe that most brands are built on the back of publicity that is earned or driven by word of mouth.
You earn these things by telling better stories about you, your company, your results, the way that your clients’ lives have improved.
That’s why you need to spend a good deal of time on telling stories in a way that allows you to show off your impact as much as possible.
These stories to have the highest impact must focus on:
- Measurable impact
- Focus outward onto the clients and the way that they will help others, not why they make you feel warm and fuzzy.
Do Great Work!
This one may make you smack your head and say, “duh!” But the truth is that in far too many places, doing great work isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for success.
We’ve become inundated with “me-too” products and services, “ninjas” and “gurus” that are only good at promoting themselves, click bait, and every imaginable form of nefarious marketing that focuses on getting you to the bottom of the funnel, cashing your check, only to leave customers wringing their hands because there is no there there.
One of the key differentiators for your unique selling factor is the quality of your work.
If you do quality work, tell your stories consistently and effectively, and focus on outcomes and success for your clients and prospects, you are going to have a message that will cut right through the clutter that is around you.
It might not be easy, but the more you focus on this…the easier it will become.