Uncovering your advantages…
Why should people buy from you?
By Brett Lloyd Abbott, MYM Austin Inc.
Let me take a couple of minutes here to help you come up with a clear & consistent message that means something to your prospects. This may be something of a challenge for me, because most business owners I work with share this one consistent trait – they are fervently and adamantly passionate that they’re better than their competition. They’ll tell me:
“No one else has our (experience) / (capability) / (dedication) / (track record) / (passion for excellence) / (quality of people) / (longevity in the marketplace) / (fill in your favorite clich?’ here).”
That’s all fine and dandy, except for one problem – You sound like everybody else.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying it isn’t true. I’m just saying that your competition is saying the same thing. It’s just like the mechanic who tells you he’s honest. Is there a rule somewhere that prevents the dishonest mechanics from telling you the same thing? No, because dishonest people don’t follow those rules.
So how does “John Smith” (your prospective customer) separate the honest pool builders from the dishonest ones? One of two ways. First, he looks for evidence beyond the cliche’s and platitudes for either a reason to trust you or a reason to not trust you. (Yes, finding a reason to not trust you is good for him, because it helps him shorten his list of builders.)
In the absence of clarifying evidence, he defaults to the second method, which is “make a wild-ass guess and hope it’s not a mistake.” That, of course, is the crime that annoys the rest of us. It’s frustrating when a prospect hires a competitor that you and I know won’t do near a good a job as we would.
So how do we prevent this? First, let’s recognize this undeniable challenge that all business owners must overcome – You’re almost certainly too close and too emotionally attached to your business to get a good honest “John Smith” perspective on your business.
I think the marketing expert Roy Williams describes this challenge most eloquently when he says: “It’s hard to read the label when you’re inside the bottle.”
Maybe I secretly enjoy that expression most because it emphasizes the advantage of hiring an outside consultant like me. But don’t worry, I think it’s possible for a business owner to “do-it-yourself” too. Here are some suggested steps you might take to help you define your true advantages to the marketplace, while getting rid of all the platitudes:
1) First, let’s presume your brother-in-law has decided to get a pool. But he lives in different state, so you can’t build the pool for him. And you don’t know any builders over there, so you’ve got to teach him how to choose the right builder in his city.
2) Now let’s make a list of all the things he should look for. Would you tell him to look for someone with “passion” and “dedication” and “expertise”? Or would you more likely tell him to look for a pool builder who:
3) If your brother-in-law wants to know why these things are important, then explain it to him. What’s the significance of 10 years? What is APSP? Why does it matter? Tell him what he really needs to know to make a good decision.
Now that you’ve determined what’s really important to the shopper, you’ve set the stage to document your own advantages. Instead of bragging about passion and dedication, you can tell your marketplace what they really want to know. Tell them what you told your brother-in-law. Give them good, honest, helpful advice that’s free of platitudes and cliche’s.
After this, the next step is to collect evidence that proves and supports your claims, and then put that on your website and in your brochures. And maybe even your elevator pitch, if you can make it brief. Presuming you can find an elevator….
Best of luck in your efforts,
©2009 Brett Lloyd Abbott / MYM Austin Inc. May not be used without permission.