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  • Writer's pictureJoshua Harmening

Step 1: Say the RIGHT Things with Your Unique Selling Points

The first part of our journey will help you understand your overall

marketing message. If your business is indeed sending a message

at all, it is likely unclear. We find that most businesses initially

created their marketing message by copying what their

competitors have written. For the most part, companies ignore this

key aspect of their business perhaps changing things only slightly

over the years. For example, if we were to stumble across an

advertisement about your business, what would it say? Here's one

way to discover your marketing message. If we were considering

engaging your business and you had only 15 seconds to convince

us, what would you say? Stop and think about it. You have only 15

seconds to tell us why we should pick you. The majority of our

readers and their staff would probably say something like this:

"You should work with us because— well, we're better! Actually,

we're the best. Look how nice we are too. We're friendly and we

smile a lot. We have great service. Also, we're a family owned

business. We've got 'great' prices. In fact, my guess is nobody beats

our prices. We're also honest. That's right, honesty and integrity is

our policy. We're reliable and dependable. Yes, we have a

professional service guarantee. We're willing to help you, we're fast

and we're local. We do it right the first time too. We care and really

love our customers. We also have other options to choose from in

our great selection. Did I mention that we were established in


We could go on, but you get the picture. Though we've exaggerated

a bit to include different industries, chances are good your

business couldn't give us some solid "whys" within 15 seconds. If

you have any printed ads, read them and determine what they say.

Take a look at the homepage of your website too. It's probable that

your content is flooded with fluffy words that are so commonplace

that we've come to totally ignore them. They go in one ear and out

the other without a second thought. We find that most businesses

are saying all the things that customers have already come to

expect. Your customers and prospects expect you to be good,

friendly and honest. After all, that's why they're paying you. If you

don't deliver, they'll find someone else who will. If you really screw

them over, they'll sue you. Still, over 95% of all businesses continue

to use meandering and boring platitudes almost as placeholders

for their advertisements.

Increasing Your Market Share

As marketing consultants, one of the most often asked questions

we receive is "how can I increase conversions?". In other words,

businesses are looking for a way to take market share away from

their competitors. Step 1 in Four Step Marketing deals with just

that, increasing conversions. Our goal is to clearly identify all the

ways you're better than your competitors. We'll identify these as

your Unique Selling Points , or the unique angles to your business

and industry. This list of Unique Selling Points will then become your

overall marketing message and built into every aspect of your Four

Step Marketing campaign. Simply put, your Unique Selling Points

should "wow" your customers so that they see your company as

the clear choice to do business with! To say it another way, when

you build strong Unique Selling Points explaining why you're better,

heads should turn and people should take notice. Conversions will

increase because more people want to do business with you

instead of your competitors.

Why Being the Cheapest Isn't Always a Good Thing

If you’re a business owner, be prepared to get a little

uncomfortable. If you "wow" customers with why you're better,

they'll be willing to spend more money to buy from you. It comes

down to the value you provide them. Unfortunately, most

businesses are only willing to compete on price alone. They are the

cheapest and can't understand why sales aren't pouring in. They

rotate promotions, discounts and coupons with little changes in

revenues all while taking a hit on their profit margin. Often times,

being the cheapest means you've cut so much profit out that you're

unable to add any more value to your customers in other areas.

The end result is that someone will eventually undercut you,

making things even more difficult.

The biggest problem with the "cheapest" mindset is that money

isn't the only thing that is important to most of us. Most people buy

based upon overall value. If we all value different things, being the

cheapest doesn't necessarily guarantee an increase in your

business. For example, because we value our time, many have

decided to skip the trip to the store and order online. Because we

value our relationships and social experiences, we don't always eat

at the cheapest restaurants. We value service, our children, good

health and dozens of other things used to filter every single buying

decision. Some might disagree with us and believe that price

determines everything. While the price does influence a decision,

the truth is, people will only pick the lowest price if everything else

is exactly the same. Do you utilize the cheapest form of

transportation in the world? That would be walking, right? Probably

not, if you value your time. When you purchased an automobile,

did you only purchase standard features? Or did you add the power

seat with lumbar support and a back-up camera? Do you always

stay at the cheapest hotels? Do you live in the cheapest house in

your city? From the houses we live in, to the places we shop and

visit, we do the things we do filtered through the lens of what we


Showing Off Your Company's Value

We can ignore the truth about why people buy or use it to our

advantage. By clarifying all of our Unique Selling Points , we're able to

quickly explain differences in our company versus our competitors.

While it sounds simple enough, the sad truth is that most

businesses don’t have strong Unique Selling Points . The majority of

businesses have also never sat down long enough to even think

about their message. They say the same old thing over and over

again. "We're nice, we're good, we're friendly. We love our

customers. We've been in business since 2001." On top of that,

they'll throw in a catchy slogan or perhaps a jingle. Can we offer a

quick reality check? People don't care about you or your business. If

you're saying what everybody else is saying, that's just noise. They

want to know what's in it for them. What benefit will they receive

from working with your company compared to the guy down the

road? If they are currently your customers, should they stay with

you or leave? They want to know the "WHY". Are you faster? Do you

have a better warranty? Are returns easy? Is the service better?

How about better technology? Do you have a guarantee? Are there

any special bonuses when we buy from you? What makes you

different? In other words, what makes your business unique?

The Death of Customer Loyalty

What about customer loyalty? Sorry friend, but it's gone. It died the

moment we all started carrying around computers in our pockets.

Prospects and customers are now educated and they've got loads

of options to choose from. They've read your reviews and are

deciding if they'll buy, keep buying or leave. If for any reason

they're not quite sure, they'll ask their online friends for

suggestions and receive an outpouring of responses. Be

forewarned that if you're not continually improving and giving

customers what they want, they will eventually become someone

else's customers. After all, haven't you done the same thing? What

store did you used to frequent until that day they really ticked you

off? What did you do? You stopped shopping there. If we're honest

with ourselves, all of us have stopped buying one brand and

switched to another brand at some point. Did we call the company

and tell them we were leaving? Probably not, we just left. Knowing

this is our nature, what leads us to believe our prospects and

customers won't do the same thing to us?

Warning - Ignoring This Step Causes a Miserable Slow Death

Yes, building strong Unique Selling Points takes work, planning and

determination. Innovation can be expensive. But what's the

alternative? If you don't deliver value, you're digging your

company's grave. Prepare to get buried alive by your competitors

who are willing to innovate and change. You see, right now, your

competitors are burning the midnight oil. They're working harder,

longer and are investing in their future. They are well capitalized

and are studying you. They're planning their attack on your

industry. They'll slowly gain market share until they suffocate you.

Now is the time to prepare. Now is the time to improve your

offering. If you're really honest with yourself, you're probably like

most businesses and have never even thought about your Unique

Selling Points . Have you ever sat down and studied your

competitors? Can you email us a detailed list of why you're the

clear choice when it comes to your industry?

Consider this. Blockbuster Video, the world's largest movie rental

company, employed over 60,000 people and had over 9,000 stores

at their peak in 2004. They had the opportunity to buy Netflix for a

measly million dollars and declined. Netflix gave consumers what

they wanted and shipped movie rentals to their door without LATE

FEES. Redbox entered the scene allowing us to pick out our movie

rentals outside of retail outlets and convenience stores. Netflix,

Amazon, Apple, Google, and several other players added live

stream movies by subscription. While Blockbuster Video did

eventually join the bandwagon, it was too late for them. They filed

bankruptcy and closed because they didn't give their customers

what they wanted. It's a sad story, but all hope isn't lost for your


Dialing in Your Unique Selling Points

So how do you give customers what they want and dial in to your

Unique Selling Points ? It starts out with research. Though you

probably can't give your customers and prospects everything they

want today, understanding what they want is paramount to

keeping them and attracting more. Here are a few things you can

do immediately to better understand your customers and


a. Profile Your Ideal Prospects/Customers

b. Survey Prospects/Customers

c. Research Competitors and Their Offerings

d. Industry Research

Though it sounds simple enough, even big companies aren't

gathering this insight. You’re probably not profiling your ideal

prospects and customers either. We’d also guess that you’ve not

surveyed prospects or your valuable customers. You may know

what’s going on in the industry, but who are the top players? Why

are they winning? What's new with technology? What are they

doing differently? Most people think that coming up with Unique

Selling Points is difficult. It isn't. It's all about listening. You simply

need to ask your customers and prospects what you could do

better. Then take a hard look at your competitors versus your

business and ask yourself what you should do to improve.

Integrating Your Unique Selling Points into

Your Marketing

Defining your Unique Selling Points is a critical prerequisite to the

other steps you'll read about. Once you have your Unique Selling

Points in place, the Four Step Marketing process will help keep your

business in front of your customers and prospects. Your Unique

Selling Points will become central to your business. They will be

your core marketing message. Utilize your Unique Selling Points to

continually educate customers and prospects why they'd be crazy

to go anywhere else. Integrating them will create a tipping point.

Unique Selling Points are why customers choose your brand over the

competition time and time again, because of the value you provide.

Even if you ignore the other marketing steps listed in this book and

only completed this step, you'd still see growth due to an increase

in conversions.

There's more good news! Sometimes coming up with strong Unique

Selling Points takes work and innovation. Sometimes it doesn't. Each

year we meet companies who have great systems and services in

place for their customers and prospects. They already have

amazing Unique Selling Points and are the clear choice when it

comes to value. The problem is that they haven't done a good job

at sharing them openly. As crazy as it sounds, these remarkable

businesses have kept their marketing message a secret and have

left money on the table. For businesses like this, the solution is

fairly simple; integrate their Unique Selling Points into every area of

their sales and marketing channels.

Companies with amazing Unique Selling Points have gone through

the painful process of innovating. They are leaders and

entrepreneurs who constantly think about how they can increase

the value of their products and services. They have worked

tirelessly to improve their inside reality. Rather than tell prospects

about how nice they are or how long they’ve been in business, they

tell the customers why they should select their business for the

products and services they desire! Companies who practice step 1

have telepathy when it comes to their customers and prospects.

They already know who they are and what they want because they

have surveyed them. Successful businesses ask themselves what

they could do better every day. They package this information up

beautifully and insert it into the other steps you'll learn about in

this book.

As you can see, developing your Unique Selling Points isn't a one

time process. Like anything worthwhile, it is a journey of continual

improvements, changes, and adaptations. Your Unique Selling Points

will evolve over time. After going through the research stage, you

should have a clear understanding of your prospects' and

customers’ wants and needs. You can then decide what

improvements to make, starting with the easiest to deliver but

most valuable option.

As you continue to improve, you'll share your newly improved

Unique Selling Points in your marketing. This will enhance your

customer loyalty, conversions and revenues. In summary, your

mom explained Unique Selling Points perfectly. Remember what she

used to tell you when you were little - “If you don’t have anything good

to say, then please don’t say anything at all!” It's good advice.

When an organization develops their Unique Selling Points , they'll

have plenty of good things to say.

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