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You own a business. You want it to succeed (hopefully!). Your competitors (and there are plenty of them, mark my word) are constantly fighting for a share of the same market niche. And it’s getting tougher out there . . . So how do you ensure that YOUR products or services stay in the limelight?
The following article is one that I first wrote several years ago, but is as relevant now as it was then. It shows you how to get the ‘X factor’ for your business. Something that’s increasingly important in an increasingly tough business landscape. I hope you enjoy – and benefit from – reading it.
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This weekend I couldn’t help but turn on the TV set just in time to watch the inaugural episode of the latest series of The X Factor (I know, I know, but I am sure there is a hidden alto in me!). When one crushed hopeful stood on the stage and listened to what Simon Cowell had to say about his performance, I, well cringed more than usual.
This heartbroken contestant had just been told to jack it in. He’d tried out on another popular signing contest about six years prior, where he’d met then-fellow contestant and and most recent The X Factor judge Cheryl Cole. He didn’t make it then, either.
She, on the other hand, went on to join one of the world’s most successful girl band ever, Girls Aloud. And now this unfortunate chap was told that while he can sing OK, he simply does not have the ‘X factor’.
So what is that elusive ‘X factor’ and how it can help you attract more clients (and sales) to your business?
A Starring Role For Business?
On the hit TV show, it refers to a rare something extra that can’t be manufactured or bought. It’s that elusive, likeability ‘star’ quality possessed by only a few . . . something that draws us to them . . . and takes them to the very top of their careers.
How does this apply to business (and, more importantly, YOUR business)?
Well, most of us have heard about the mysterious ‘X factor’ that will take our businesses to the next level. We all have one, whether we know it or not. There is something unique about each and every one of us, and each and every business.
You just have to discover what it is.
And there’s the rub. Most marketing managers and business owners do not know what it is about their business that makes it stand apart. They never find that elusive ‘X factor’.
When I asked one of my mentoring clients, a life coach, why her business was different to the plethora of other life-coaching organisations, she replied: “I care. That’s what makes me special.”
Clearly, she’s very passionate about what she does, but like I said: “All life coaches care about their clients. That’s the very nature of what they’re about.”
“No, but you don’t understand, I REALLY care about my clients!” she retorted.
In the end, we worked out her USP (unique selling proposition) and she went on to attract not only more clients, but also more of the type of clients she prefers to work with.
Stand Apart From the Competition
Also known as the ‘point of difference’, the USP was coined by Rosser Reeves in the 1950s and later made popular by marketing genius Jay Abraham. It points to what it is about what your business, product or service that makes you stand out from your competitors.
Like it or not, every business has competition. So it goes without saying that it is incredibly important to your bottom line to be able to stand head and shoulders above them and offer your clients something that they don’t.
Everyone can ‘cold-brew’ beer. But the first company to offer ‘ice’ brews stood out – and made a small fortune, to boot.
What They Really, Really Want
What about you? Why should people choose YOU over your competitors? Worse, what if there really is nothing that differentiates you from everyone else — what do you do, then?
To get your USP, think about what it is about your product or service that makes your customers’ lives infinitely better. And if that’s too difficult, think about what your customers really, really want.
For the life coach I mentioned earlier, the majority of her clients wanted lasting, positive change. Some of them wanted to change careers. Others wanted to get out of a relationship rut. And still others wanted to take control of their finances.
Once you have pinpointed your customers’ ultimate wants or needs, you simply tie that into your USP. For example, if you’re a search engine-optimisation specialist, your clients would obviously want to achieve top-ranking results for their businesses or websites in the search engines. And let’s say you can not only help them do that, but can also prove you’ve helped clients achieve a number one spot on the biggest search engine, Google, in a few weeks. So your USP could be: “Getting you the #1 spot on Google in just 2 weeks.”
When you have honed your own ‘X factor’ — ideally boiled down to one short, compelling sentence — be sure to use it in ALL your advertising and marketing materials, including on your website, and also when you introduce your business to people. As well as being a powerful marketing tool, your USP will help create a brand in your prospects eyes – IF it is used often enough.
One final thought: Offer that all-important proof whenever possible . . . and ALWAYS deliver on any promises made with your USP.
By Tracey Dooley, Copywriter | Creative Consultant
Got your USP nailed down but having a difficult time marketing it? Then consider a ‘power coaching’ session. I can give you everything you need to know to create a compelling USP, positioning statement or marketing message that will appeal to the best customers for you — plus LOTS of other crucial techniques to help you fill your sales pipeline. You can read more about my marketing consulting programmes — including one-off sessions — at:
(Why struggle needlessly when you can get expert help and/or affordable mentoring and have fun accelerating your sales through credibility?)
(C) 2008-11 T Dooley, All Rights Reserved
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