Small Business Articles from Make-it-Fly®
Know and Profit From What Sets You Apart
By Victoria Munro
If you want to gain and keep good clients and boost profits, you must clearly understand and keep top of mind the benefits your products or services offer that set you apart from the competition.
Know Your Customer
Before you can begin to effectively communicate those benefits that set you apart, you must define your target customer as narrowly as you can. Then get to know how they think, and what’s meaningful and important to them. Understand the challenges they face in business and life that your products could solve. Ask yourself what problems they’ll gladly pay to resolve.
Identify Your Rivals
You also need to know who your competitors are and the products they offer that are similar to yours—their features, benefits, pricing, strengths and weaknesses.
Define Your Differentiators
From your target customers’ perspective, describe all your products’ benefits—those differentiators that set them apart. Make a list of all these differentiators and how they will directly affect your customers in positive ways to make their lives easier, or help them save time and/or money. Then go over the list again and delete any benefits that your competition could also claim. Use the remaining benefits to market and sell your products.
Note: Price shouldn’t be a differentiator. There will always be someone willing to sell for less. Plus, price-driven customers may not be the kind you want.
You can learn a lot by talking with your best clients. Ask them why they chose you over the competition.
Refine Your Message
Using your list of benefits, write down how your products will meet your target clients’ perceived needs. Understand the related emotions—remember, people make buying decisions based on emotion—and use this information in your marketing communications. Consistently and clearly communicating to prospective clients what sets you and your products apart and how this benefits them is key to your success.
Update and Profit from What Sets You Apart
Plan now to create or review, and perhaps revise, your list of unique benefits and your message. Then go sell what truly sets you apart.
In our rapidly changing world, clients’ needs and wants are also constantly evolving. You must regularly assess and revise the list of benefits you offer and your message. Review the list often and adjust it to address your potential clients’ most current perceived needs. This will involve some time in research and a lot of thought, but the results will be rewarding.
© 2005-2008 Victoria Munro.
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About the Author: Victoria Munro is
co-founder (along with husband Dave Block) of Make-it-Fly®
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small-business owners through creatively designed programs
and tools. Victoria has started and run nine different
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