With so much noise in the marketplace these days, creating differentiation is a critical component in your marketing plan. You can’t afford to have your business perceived as a commodity. Creating differentiation for differentiation sake is a useless exercise. On the other hand, creating differentiation that brings real value to the prospect or client is invaluable, and will attract people to you.
Editor’s note: Scroll to the bottom of this article for a note about Bill’s presentation at this year’s QuickBooks Connect.
What makes you different?
There are many ways you can differentiate yourself. You can look at such things as:
- Specialization in a specific target industry.
- Specialization in a specific product or service niche.
- Your extensive experience and/or training.
- Your proprietary process.
Branding through your process
I submit to you that one of the most powerful ways to create meaningful differentiation is to focus on your proprietary processes through which you lead your prospects and clients.
Whether it’s a formal planning or assessment process for which you charge a fee, or a process through which you get to know your prospects and clients, it’s the process—not the products you sell—that brings the most immediate value to the relationship.
Putting someone through a process builds relationships based on fast value, and makes you referable more quickly in a new relationship. Leading a new client from point A to point B, teaching, asking good probing questions, being a good listener, helping them think in ways they’ve never thought before, and talking “big picture” stuff are the things that bring value to the relationships quickly, help increase trust, and make you highly referable.
Naming your process
Once you have a valuable process through which you lead your clients, you want to name that process. Putting a name to that process is the beginning of how you communicate how you’re different.
You want prospects and clients to realize they can only get this process from you! Your name should either contain a strong, obvious benefit, or arouse curiosity, so someone says, “Tell me more about that.” It’s also usually best to begin with the word “The.” The word, “The,” demonstrates exclusivity. Let me give you some examples.
In my company, Referral Coach International, we have branded several processes. For example, we teach “The Referral Advantage Program®” to professionals who want to attract more high-quality clients through referrals.
When a company brings us in to teach our complete system to its representatives and help establish a powerful referral culture within the company, we usually implement “The Referral Coach Program™.” In this program, we teach members of the organization (usually sales managers or trainers) how to be “Referral Coaches™.” These Referral Coaches™ help implement and sustain our referral system. No other company in the world has The Referral Advantage Program® or The Referral Coach Program™.
Once you’re set on the name for your process, I strongly recommend that you trademark the name and grab the URL (web address) right away.
Your value positioning statement
Now that you’ve found one or more things that differentiate you from virtually all other companies, you need to communicate that to your prospects and clients.
One way to accomplish this is through a Value Positioning Statement (VPS). Your VPS should define your target market, while delivering one or two benefits. Your VPS is designed to begin to describe the work you do, and arouse curiosity on the part of the prospect to want to know more. As before, I’ll give you an example from my own business, and then a few examples of what yours might be like.
At Referral Coach International, our VPS is: “We work with professionals who want to attract more high-quality clients through referrals and with companies that want to attract more ideal clients without increasing their marketing budget. While other firms can help you with your marketing, only we have The Referral Advantage Program that will allow you to acquire more ideal clients with little or no cost to you.”
A financial advisor’s VPS might go like this: “We work with small business owners who want to focus on building their business, and we focus on building their wealth in the most tax-advantaged manner. For example, our proprietary “Small Business Wealth Management Process” is a five-pronged process that will provide you with continual clarity with regard to your investments and the confidence to know you’re always on track.
Putting it together
These two elements of developing your differentiation—naming your process and creating your Value Positioning Statement—are a great way to communicate your value to win more ideal clients.
Bill Cates is speaking at this year’s QuickBooks Connect; his topic is “Communicating Compelling Value to Attract Ideal Clients.” Register today for QuickBooks Connect and input code JOINUS19 for a 20% discount off the registration fee.