Who is your “VP”? It’s not who you think.

fun officeConsumers have lots of choice for their buying needs, and you have lots of competition. So, how do you ensue that they look at your shopping experience, when compared to theirs? That’s a basic question, with a really simple answer.
Find a way to differentiate your business, one that matters to somebody, so that you do not have to compete on price. What is the single-minded point of difference that some narrowly defined ideal client cannot live without? The secret to marketing success is as simple as that. But by finding it, and exploiting it, your business would be in the elite, because your competition isn’t doing it. Why?Because to be unique, you have to actually be different and that scares the heck out of most business owners. Be very clear about this, though, your customers and prospects want you to be different, they require you to be different. To succeed in business you have only one job, and that is to find a way to show that you are completely different in a way that your market wants and values, exploit that difference in every word that you compose and watch your profits soar. It’s painful and a lot of extra work to do, sometimes, but you will be many steps ahead of the competition if you can do it.

Identify your ideal Client

You know you have an ideal client in mind when you can ponder how great life would be if you have a dozen or so more just like them. What makes them perfect for you? Have you done business with one, lately?

Create a list of six to eight of your current ideal clients and commit to sitting down with face to face or over the phone for about fifteen minutes, or you are going to devise a questionnaire and have them complete it and return it to you. As either of these methods are a conversation of sorts, the same questions should be included:

Why did you hire us/buy from us in the first place? Just because you think you know, you may not. You can collect surprising insights, here.

What’s one thing we do that you love the most? You need specifics, here. Drill down from their first answers.

What’s one thing we do that others don’t? Don’t be embarrassed to ask this – no-one else is, so it’s a refreshing change for the answerer. Even if the answer’s as plain as ‘you are close’, you collect extra knowledge.

If you were to refer us what would you say? Look for three adjectives, here. It will help you tally up the most important points when spread over several answers.

Can you tell me about three other companies that you love? Even if these other companies are in your field, you will get another view of your business from the outside. You also learn more about your competition.

If you were conducting an online search for this service, how would you search for it?: You are looking for their search terms in order to further define how a successful search would find you.

Remember that you’re not looking for scientific data, you’re looking more for themes and stories that offer clues to what really does make your firm unique. In most cases you will need to use follow-up statements such as – “Okay, we provide great service, that’s awesome, but tell me a story about a time we did.”

Work with themes that matter

From your interviews you should have some rich themes to work with. Don’t underestimate the power of simple things. Quite often your clients value the little things you do that are special. Resist the temptation to dismiss them as unimportant enough to use as your core point of difference.

List all of the answers, find out who said the most often repeated themes, and drive home a marketing campaign aimed at these clients.

This is your VP – Your Value Proposal to an entire business segment.

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