Connecting to your customers by standing up and out
In this era of a global economy, internet marketplaces, and free shipping, it is harder than ever to stand out in the crowd. But take heart there is a way that you and your business can get noticed… I call it ‘You being You’.
No matter what your service, your offer or your product is, no one has ever done it quite the way you have. Who we are a people is intimately informed by our experiences, our interests, and our dreams. Who we are as business-people, how we run our business, manage ourselves and our staff, engage with our customers, is directly related to who we are in our life. But often we spend a lot of time in business doing what we see others doing, and as a result we blend in with the crowd.
In order to capture the attention of your ideal customers, you need to tap into exactly what it is that you offer that is unique to you, and that is irresistible to your customers.
Differentiate or die trying
Although I may have made this sound a bit easy above, don’t be fooled. Getting to the heart of your unique selling proposition, or your USP, is not usually fast or easy. The alternative, however, is you and your business fading away into an oblivion of sameness with no one knowing, or caring, that you came and went.
You need to be willing to do the work to uncover what makes you special, and then be prepared to stand by it and promote the heck out of it. Toot your own horn, so to speak, since you are the one who knows you best. Be different, stand out, and then be ready to walk the talk or you just wind up looking silly.
USP to the n-th degree: Zappos
A great example of a truly effective, and attention-grabbing USP, is Zappos. In the US, Zappos, and online shoe retailer, offers a 365-day return policy. If you buy a pair of shoes from Zappos and decide you don’t like them, you can return them months later for free.
Taking it one more step further, Zappos will pay for you to return your shoes. Unlike other companies, Zappos aims to make it easy rather than hard to make a return, which is a very common stumbling block for people to purchase shoes online. Because outrageously good customer service is what drives Zappos as an organization, they have policies in place to ‘walk that talk’.
This “no risk” USP allowed their customers to make snap decisions on purchases. They knew that even if they didn’t like it, they could just send it back.
Go from good to GREAT
To have a USP that truly motivates customers, involves an element of risk for the business, a pushing of the envelope to solve an pre-existing problem or serves an identified need.
Zappos takes a big risk by offering a 365-day return policy, but customers who shop online want safety when they buy. The Zappos USP offers customers the peace of mind to click-through and make a purchase, and Zappos can comfortably claim a fiercely loyal customer base who buy lots and who buy often.
Straight from the horse’s mouth
The best way to determine what your USP is is to ask your existing clients. You can question why they do business with you instead of the other guy, and compile the answers to find commonalities in their responses.
A great way to develop a USP is to determine what your customers want, then find a method to fulfill it. If it feels as though there’s a significant risk involved in fulfilling on the promise, then you can rest assured that you are on the right track.
Great things don’t happen by doing what you, and everyone else, have always done. Reputations are built where risk and discomfort meet determination and commitment. Interestingly enough, that’s generally where the money is made, too.