Does anyone really have a USP these days?
Some of our clients do indeed have innovative products and services. These include Nano technology for improved packaging strength at lower cost, large touch screen monitors for schools and scenario planning solutions for the emergency services when it comes to anti-terrorism planning. Some have a combination of a really strong solution at the right time e.g. one of our clients provided excellent training software / solutions for financial services companies at the time when new regulations came into place.
However, very few businesses are fortunate to be in the position where they genuinely have something that stands out amongst the sea of competition.
So, how does your business raise its profile and differentiate itself? It isn’t easy and there isn’t a simple solution. One hopes that you are good at what you do. If not, it’s pretty hard to win and retain business and to gain repeat and referral business. So, let’s assume you are pretty good. But how can you mark your business out and become the vendor that rises to the top of supplier shortlists? Below are a few suggestions.
1. Show Deep Understanding of Customer Challenges
Most purchases are to mitigate risk, reduce cost, improve productivity, gain competitive advantage or for some other similar requirement. If you want to trade with a given sector or with a particular buyer job role, you need to demonstrate a deep understanding of that market and their buying motivations. How much do you really know about your buyers and the sectors within which they operate? Have you done research (either market or customer satisfaction) or perhaps bought industry insight or even researched online through sector associations to see what’s a hot topic? What exhibitions or events have you attended where you can up-weight your sector specific knowledge?
2. Show your Understanding across your Marketing Collateral
It’s all well and good being informed but if no-one knows that you know, that value is diluted. To ensure that potential buyers are exposed to that expertise, consider how this can be represented on your website (do you have a section designed specifically for your target market or for your particular buyers?), in PDFs, with case studies and testimonials, in blog posts and articles you write and so on. The more you show yourself and your business to be credible and experts, the more likely you are to rise to the top.
3. Make your Expertise Visible
I liken this to where you have the most wonderful jewellery shop on London’s Bond Street. The merchandise is stunning. Unfortunately, you keep the door locked and the shutters down. If you don’t communicate your expertise to potential customers, how will they find out. That means rethinking the structure of your website, writing articles / blog posts that reflect that skill or expertise and then make sure that you distribute and showcase that knowledge across all of the potential customer touch points.
That’s most definitely on your website but particularly in your blog and then across social media such as LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, YouTube and Vimeo (if you have videos), Pinterest and Instagram (if your business is visual) and so on. If you have time, participate in and start LinkedIn discussions and post your articles around. Key subjects on your LinkedIn profile. Make sure you tweet with links back to your website and blog.
4. Tap into Buyer Context
If you understand why customers buy, you’re in a much better position to differentiate. There are tons of suppliers for every service or product. There is a much used analogy of whether someone buys a hammer or buys the ability to make a hole. Understanding what drives customers to purchase will support your ability to stand out. For example, why does a CFO look around for a broker to purchase foreign currency? They could just go to the bank? But they may be unhappy with the rates or their current FX partner. They may not want all of their eggs in one basket and want to spread the risk. Their currency needs may be complex based on the market they operate within.
Why does a customer by a new 4×4 car? Is it the end of their 3 year lease? Have they just had kids and need more space? Do they genuinely live in the countryside? The more you understand context, the more you can tap into the psyche of your buyers. The more you can outwardly demonstrate your understanding, the more you set your business apart from those that pitch on a product or service basis alone.
5. People still Buy People
Rapport goes a long way. Thank goodness people still buy people even in our remote age. Now, I’m not talking about online shopping. However, with the introduction and deployment of web chat, remote agents play an increasing role even in online purchase. However, I’m talking about face to face and on the telephone. This is where your people need to showcase the skills and knowledge they have acquired. How well do they understand buyer challenges? How able are they to articulate this? How effective are they at building rapport? If you can marry up your people skills with your technical expertise and communicate both of these effectively and widely, you will go a long way to differentiate your businesses and be able to work out How to make your Business Stand out Against your Competitors
If you’d like to know how GSA Business Development can help generate growth for your business or book one of our new business development and marketing strategy workshops, contact us now on 0845 658 8192 or use the form on this site.