“How often do you change your value statement . . . AKA . . . your ‘Elevator Pitch’?”

I ask that of people I meet with in workshops and in passing conversations.  Those who say they “rarely change” fall into 1 of 2 camps:

  1. they’ve not given the subject a lot of thought, or
  2. they’ve found something that works and they’re not going to ‘fix what ain’t broken’

But most of the time I hear, “I’m always changing it — when I find one I like, I’ll let you know!”.

The Search for a Good Elevator Pitch Never Ends

While I’m all for having a short, targeted statement that resonates with someone who may find the value proposition you offer is of interest, it’s just a the ‘first move’ in a larger game of marketing ‘chess’.

It may help you capture the attention of a potential prospect, but it’s not going to close a sale. In fact, there’s a long way between your ‘opening gambit’ and the ‘checkmate’ move that ends the game!

What you may want to give as much (if not more!) thought to is what is your value proposition?  That’s not necessarily something that fits the one-size-fits-all approach, nor is it something that you can give out as quickly and easily as an elevator pitch.

Your Value Proposition Is Not Your Elevator Pitch

If your elevator pitch is useful in ‘opening the game’ — like a good serve in tennis or a solid drive off the tee, your value proposition is what sustains the game to a decisive conclusion.

Your value proposition is the ultimate basis for a qualified prospect making a decision to do business with you.  Or, not.  The latter being true if you’re not a good fit for one another.

How Your Value Proposition and Elevator Pitch Differ

An effective elevator pitch must answer two questions:

  1. “Are you relevant . . . to me?”
  2. “What benefit will I enjoy . . . as a result of working with you?”

The relevance issue . . .
is easily addressed by defining or communicating WHO . . . is your ideal client.  One of my clients likes to say, “I work with business owners who are 55 years old or older . . .”.  That’s pretty clear and, I can tell you from her feedback, it’s pretty effective in quickly engaging the attention and interest (or, curiosity) of people who are over 55 and own a closely-held business.

The benefit issue . . .
is easily addressed by pointing out, in a very tangible way, what someone stands to gain (or, avoid losing) as a result of using the problem-solving expertise, products and/or services of the person who’s answering the questions, “What DO you do?”  Another client describes the beneficial difference he makes in a client’s life this way: “I help my clients achieve their 5 year plan goals in 3 years or less”.  Again, a measurable outcome he offers as a meaningful benefit that attracts the attention and  engages the interest of someone he’s just met.

If your elevator pitch is a one-size-fits-all statement of WHO and WHY, your value proposition is more of a custom-tailored response that perfectly addresses the questions:

  1. “Why You?” and
  2. “Why Not?”

Why YOU? . . .
The fancy-schmancy marketing term this suggests is ‘positioning’ or ‘differentiating’.

It goes to the issue that, all other things being equal, what makes you the preferred provider of the beneficial solution to the problem that you used your elevator pitch to capture my attention back when we first met?

If you’re no different — or, better — than other providers of the solution I may (now) be interested in . . . any competitor with a clear and compelling reason to chose them over you could . . . beat you out at the box-office.  So you’d best find out why you’re not only different but better than the alternatives.

Why NOT? . . .
In sales, there’s an old adage that says, “A decision to do nothing, is still a decision”.  I’d argue it’s the default decision that each of us must assume when talking with a prospective client.  They’ve been doing something before we showed up and they may feel that’s good enough UNLESS . . . they learn of a compelling reason to do something different.

This raises the issue of ‘risk’.  No one likes to make a mistake.  So they make a decision to do no thing that will change their situation — for the better or, the worse.  It’s a big reason behind why people don’t take actions that could, potentially, benefit them.

You probably hear of many people who didn’t jump back into the stock market after the big crash in 2008 out of fear of getting ______’ed again.  But they lost out on the recovery, too.

You’ll need to manage the risk of action vs. inaction in the value proposition you offer someone or they may just decide to ‘stay put’.  And that, for both of you, may be more costly than either of you like.

The 3 Keys . . . To a Successful Value Proposition

If you want to build a value proposition that will move people to make a decision about working with you, consider what you must address with whatever and however you communicate it . . .

Interest . . . you must focus your prospect’s attention on WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?).  Everyone has more choices for investing their time and money than they have time and money to invest.  Unless you’re talking about what your prospect cares about, you’ll be talking to yourself before too long!  So focus on the benefit you offer and hit it . . . hard and quickly.

Competitive Position . . . despite what your mother told you, you are not the only game in town.  You have competition.  You know it.  Your prospects know it, too.  So embrace the obvious.  The ‘elephant’ in the room. How?  By acknowledging your prospects’ alternatives to you.  Reference your competitors and position who you are, what you offer and how you’re better . . . relative to your alleged competitors.

Avis rental cars claimed, “We’re #2, we (have to) try harder”.  By adopting that position, they re-positioned the #1 car rental company (Hertz) very effectively . . . “They’re #1 . . . they don’t have to . . . (give a _ _ _ _!)”.

Credibility . . . prospects are not clients (yet) because they’re already doing some thing else!  Think about it.  They are already doing some-thing by simply doing no-thing . . . with you or anyone else in your field!  A decision to do nothing is still a decision to do something . . . to maintain their status quo.  Why do people do this?

Life coaches Walt Hampton and Ann Sheybani teach that the desire to avoid possible pain is, for most of us, more powerful than the desire to make changes that may lead to greater gain.  We may want to ‘steal 2nd base’ but we know keeping our foot on first base won’t get us tossed out of the game.

Never mind that doing no-thing may be more costly than some-thing you may be suggesting.  We don’t make changes easily until we believe the cost of doing nothing (different) poses a greater risk of loss than the benefit we may gain by doing something new, different, and . . . possibly better.

Your value proposition must address these three issues — interest, position and credibility. How?  Often with client testimonials that your prospect can relate to as credible parties whose situation was similar to what their’s is now and whose outcomes were more promising to seek than maintain the status quo they’re living with now.

POINT:
Your Elevator Pitch can start the game, but a solid Value Proposition can close the sale for you

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“How can I convince a prospective client that I’m better than other advisors in my field?”  That’s a great question.  One I get asked a lot.  OK, here’s an insight for you . . .

Prospects decide to work with you — as their advisor —  the same way they decide to buy a book. But before they buy the book, they ‘buy’ the book’s cover. Consider the following scenario:

You’re in a bookstore.  You find two books on a topic you’re interested in.  You want to buy one book, not two.  Question: “How do you choose which book to buy?”

Do you read both books before you decide which one to buy?  No.  That’s not practical.  So what does help you choose one book over another?  Short answer?  It’s the book’s cover!  

Specifically, it’s the experience a cover offers you that helps you choose one book over the other.

If it’s sufficiently appealing, you’ll probably buy the book.  If not, you’ll put it back on the shelf. That’s the very same process prospects use to decide to work with you . . . or, your competitor.

The Impression You Make is Key to Your Success with Prospects

Let’s be candid.  Financial planning is an overcrowded and highly competitive field.  Next to encountering a few ‘coaches’, attending any social event means you’ll find more than a couple of ‘financial advisors’.  And we both know that’s being conservative.

Your Challenge:  Standing Out . . . from Your Competitors

To people who are not in the financial planning field, every planner looks like all the rest.

At a minimum, you call yourself by a common term — ‘financial planner’.  You probably have letters after your name on your business card — CFP, CLU, ChFC, etc..  You’re licensed by the various financial regulatory agencies, you hold membership in your professional associations locally and nationally and you have awards and accolades from your company or broker-dealer.  So do all the other planners!

There’s really very little ‘difference’ between you and your competitors . . . as Joe or Jane Public perceives things.

So here’s the problem:  You may be no worse than your competition.  But, you’re also not seen as being any better than they are, either.  Not good.  For you!

What you SAY and DO . . . Differentiates You

Some years ago a major accounting firm hired the ‘father’ of modern differentiation — Ted Levitt, Professor Emeritus of the prestigious Harvard Business School.  They asked him, “Tell us how to ‘differentiate’ our audit services from the audit services our competitors are offering”.  Winning an audit contract with a major company — think Boeing, Apple, Google, etc. could bring in millions of dollars in fees — to the accounting firm that’s chosen to do the audit.

Levitt knew that to ‘stand out’, something must possess two qualities.  First, it must be unique.  In a me-too world, you won’t be noticed unless you’re different.  Think of Waldo.  He doesn’t stand out so it’s hard to find him, right?  Second, it must also be beneficial.  Something must offer a legitimate benefit — as the target audience defines ‘value’.

The problem is it’s not easy to sustainably differentiate a professional service –– like you offer.

If your offering is beneficial, competitors will copy you and you won’t be unique for long.

If your offering is unique and competitors aren’t copying you, maybe there’s really no benefit.

There’s your dilemma.  Finding a way to sustain a ‘competitive edge’ . . . a point of differentiation for you . . . over time . . . is a very real challenge.  It’s why you feel like Waldo more than you like!

The Secret To ‘Standing Out’ and ‘Kicking Your Competitors Butts’ 

Good News!  Professor Levitt’s first requirement . . . being unique . . . is actually easy . . . for you.  Last time I looked, there was no one else on Earth who is just like you.  Heck, even your mother told you that, right?  Listen to your mother!  She’s right.  You are totally and perfectly unique.

As for being beneficial, here’s how you address that issue.  Manage your behavior!  Why?  Because there’s a direct connection between:

1.  what you SAY and what you DO in front of a prospective client

2.  how they perceive you as a preferred provider of financial expertise, advice and products

3.  whether they’ll choose you (or, your competitor!) . . . when the ‘beauty contest’ is over

I use a simple graphic with my clients to illustrate how this works . . .

It all begins with / depends on your behavior.

Everything (EVERY Thing) you do and say — i. e. your behavior — creates an experience for your prospective client.

 

In social psychology, it’s well-known that your perception of someone reflects the cumulative effect of the behavioral impressions they offer you.

If I’m always late or always have a messy room, you tend to perceive me as undisciplined, uncaring, disorganized, lazy, etc.  That may not be true.  But because that’s your subjective perception of me, that’s your reality of me and you’ll tend to behave accordingly toward me.

Pulling It All Together

OK, so how do you use these insights to help your prospective clients perceive you as the advisor they’d prefer to work with . . . assuming they’re ready to do so . . . and all other things are ‘essentially equal’?

First, learn what your ideal client wants to find in an advisor
Leavitt learned audit clients really didn’t care about the audit.  It was a necessary evil — like undergoing a colonoscopy after age 50. What they really wanted / cared about was to work with a ‘business advisor‘ whose firm could also do their audit.

AHA!  It was never about the audit, it was always about the relationship the client wanted!

The best way to learn what your prospects want in an advisor is simple.  Ask your best clients this question:

“Why did you choose ME . . . over other planners you were aware of / considering using?”

You may hear:  “You knew about . . . “, “You were thorough”,  You listened well”,  “You made me feel comfortable”, etc.  These are perceptions . . . of you . . . expected by your prospects.

Once you learn the answer to the question, “Why me?”. . . you’ll know what your prospects are looking for in an advisor in your field.  Then, I urge you to identify the ‘Top 3’ most commonly cited answers you hear.

When you know what makes you a preferred provider, you can create the experience (of you) prospects will use to decide if you’re the advisor they want.  Yes, it’s an Open Book Test!

RULE:
“3 Behavioral Impressions –––> 1 Subjective Perception”

It takes 3 behavioral impressions to cement a single perception (AKA ‘truth’ or ‘reality) about you with a prospect.  If you create 3 behavioral impressions for each of the Top 3 perceptions that educators want in their financial advisor and, all things being equal, you’ll have a decided edge over any alleged competitor!  See?  Amazingly simple.

Second, choose what you must SAY and DO to validate the Top 3 perceptions clients want
Your current clients were once your prospects.  They were looking for someone they could feel comfortable trusting to help them manage their financial affairs.  Behaving like what your clients wanted from you is the key to presenting your ‘best side’ to prospects in the future.

For example, let’s say you work with educators.  Your best clients told you, “We chose you because you seemed to know a lot about teachers”  If so, you may want to communicate your expertise by asking a question or sharing an insight.  e.g.  “Many of the teachers I work with are not aware of what their maximum contribution to a tax-deferred annuity program is for this year.  Have you determined what you’re allowed to contribute and are you planning to take full advantage of that amount?”

That’s one (1) behavioral impression!  If you make three (3) similar behavioral impressions during an initial meeting with a prospective educator client, they’ll form the perception that you’re someone who . . . specializes in working with educators!

Repeat that process with the #2 and #3 perceptions educators use to choose . . . their financial advisor . . . and you’ll end up not only standing out in your initial meetings, you’ll end up converting more prospects into clients, too.

POINT:
People buy books by their covers and advisors / planners by their behaviors!

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It’s not often that I find an unusual / unusually effective way for someone to make a statement about WHO they are and/or WHAT they do.  It happens.  But it’s not common.

Then, yesterday I received an invitation to connect on Linkedin with Joe Lavoie.

I didn’t know Joe before he reached out to connect on Linkedin.  Even our ‘who you know in common’ didn’t reflect a list of the usual suspects I would normally expect to see.  So I did what I do most of the time.  I checked out Joe’s Linkedin profile page to assess whether I should accept his invitation or, politely, decline it.

Joe’s Profile

When I viewed his profile page, here’s what I saw . . .

Joe Lavoie

Joe’s tagline was a significant ‘pattern interrupt’.  It stopped me.  Cold.  I was hooked.  At this point I didn’t know all that much about Joe except that he had me smiling.  He had me admiring his courage for stepping outside of what convention suggests one should do with the tagline on Linkedin.  Most of all, he had me wondering, “Who the heck is this guy??”

Why I liked Joe . . . Before I Ever Met Him

Joe’s decision to put himself out there with his uncommon tagline automatically set him apart from the pack.  One of my favorite sayings is, “The ONLY dog on a dog sled team with a change of scenery . . . is the LEAD DOG”.  (Think about it for a second.  You’ll see what I mean!)

In business and in life it’s not easy to be seen as so different and unique that you stand out from the pack of me-too positioned people.  Joe Lavoie succeeds at standing out because he’s made a courageous decision to do so.

Joe didn’t have to be a ‘rocket surgeon’ to say what he did.  True, he’s pretty creative.  But it’s not beyond anyone — including you and me — to seize the same opportunity Joe did . . . to make a distinctive and memorable statement that causes him to be memorable in a world where most people forget your first name after just meeting you!

How To Stand Out Like Joe

A good Core Message or tagline needs to do two things:

  1. Convey what you do and/or what benefit you produce for your client
  2. Be memorable . . . which means being distinctive and beneficial

The father of differentiation . . . HBS professor and noted author, Ted Levitt, defined ‘differentiation’ in his 1986 book, The Marketing Imagination as the ability to be both unique and beneficial.

The challenge, of course, is to be both.  Why?  Well, think about it.  If you’re beneficial, you’ll be copied by your competitors.  So you’re not likely to be unique for very long.  And, if you’re truly unique, no competitor has tried to copy you.  So maybe you weren’t all that beneficial after all.  See, there’s the rub.  Finding a sustainable way to differentiate or position yourself effectively . . . is a real challenge.

The good news is that, as an advisor to your client, you’re not a tangible product that is readily available to your prospective clients from any one of a number of retail outlets.  You are, simply by being who you are, unique.  There is no one else like you.  So there’s half the battle.

The second challenge is to be beneficial . . . as your Ideal Client defines it.  This is, as I’m sure you know, less about what you do and more about what you do for your client.  Once you shift your frame of reference on that, you’ll see and communicate the beneficial difference you make in your clients’ lives . . . fairly quickly and easily.

POINT:
If you’re good at what you do . . . don’t hide your light under a bushel!  Convey the beneficial difference you create in a client’s life simply, creatively and . . . effectively.

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Duct Tape Marketing Founder John Jantsch has a number of words of wisdom.

One of them is that effective marketing results from a coordinated, strategic approach rather than what might be called chasing the marketing tactic of the week.  This is very common.  You hear about what a fellow business owner did that got their phone to ring, their ‘likes’ to increase, etc. and you think, “Hey, that sounds like a good thing to do . . .”.  So you do it.

But you’re playing ‘Follow The Leader’, marketing-wise, and . . . it’s not a good thing to do.

The Problem with Playing Follow-The-Leader
In a business growth consultation I do with clients (The Profit Project™) I share a simple story.

“Assume you’re a bird.  In a long line of birds.  And the line leads to a very high cliff.  As each bird moves up to the edge of the cliff, they step off and fly away.  Now assume you realize that, while you’re a bird, you’re not an eagle like all the other birds.  In fact, you’re a penguin.  So if you attempt to fly off the cliff, you’ll fall like a rock and be killed or seriously hurt at best.”

Then I share a slightly different scenario  . . .

“Assume you’re a bird.  In a long line of birds.  And the line leads to a very high cliff.  But here’s the difference.  The ‘cliff’ is made of snow and ice.  You’re in Antarctica.  And yes, you’re a penguin.  This time, you’re likely to survive your cliff jump and the other birds, presumably still eagles, are going to freeze to death.”

Even if their marketing tactic is productive, it’s likely due to a proper alignment between the marketing tactic/s they chose and the nature of their specific business.  Your business is different.  And, you may not be so successful — even if you employ the very same tactics!

KEY POINT:
Choose your marketing tactics based on who YOU are, not on what the business owner next to you is doing.

There is a wise and seasoned professional colleague of mine . . . named Kyle Hunt.

Kyle’s based in Michigan and he’s the owner of Remodel Your Marketing.  He specializes in working exclusively with clients who are  in the remodeling business and related trades — painters, carpenters, builders, electricians . . . well, you get the idea.

Kyle is undoubtedly one of THE best marketing advisors to trades people that I know.

Kyle is someone who ‘Walks his Talk’.  He practices what he preaches to his clients.  And there’s great wisdom in how he does that.

One of the basic marketing objectives is to seek to be attractive . . . to the kind of people you want as clients.  And, of course, the corollary to that would be to know the kind of person you do NOT want to attract.  That suggests you should have an ‘Ideal Client Profile’.

Your Ideal Client Profile
Often, when we talk about a ‘profile’, we mean the demographic and psychographic factors that correlate highly with the kind of people who can best understand what we do, desire the benefits we offer, afford the fees we must charge and (sooner or later) buy what we offer.

This is NOT that kind of profile.

The profile I want to introduce to you now — and use Kyle’s own profile (below) as an excellent example — is more of a profile that allows your prospects to self-qualify or, self-DISqualify themselves as being viable candidates to work with you.

Below you can see the “7 Characteristics” that Kyle uses to help people determine if they might be a good ‘fit’ for Kyle and vice versa.

Knowing WHO you do NOT want to work with is as important as knowing who you do. Effective marketing honors the truth that . . . “You can’t be all things to all people”.

So Kyle brilliantly just ‘puts it out there’ for all to see and use to determine if they’re even QUALIFIED to be one of Kyle’s clients.

It’s not hubris to do this, it’s brilliance!

KEY POINT:
When you know who you want (or, don’t!) as a client . . . and can communicate that to others . . . you’re far more likely to end up with clients you’ll like! 

Branding Lessons:  Moments of Truth
Last evening I attended a meeting where the topic of discussion was ‘branding’.
While many of us are, in varying degrees, familiar with the topic, the viewpoint of those present focused on: 1) the means of ‘sharing’ the brand or identify of a firm and 2) the basis of its reality.

You Don’t Tell People What Your Brand Is — They Tell You 
One of the points we discussed was that, what with social media being what it is, the power of branding your business is more in the hands of your customers and clients than yourself or your own marketing people.

Of course, we all want to have a ‘brand’ that elicits the feelings and generates the associations we’d like people to have of us. But the reality is that your firm’s brand is what the people who come into contact with your business believe about it.

True, or not.  Desirable, or not.  Perception is reality.  And whatever people believe is true about your business is what is ‘true’ and real about it.  For them. For example, you may believe your _______ don’t stink.  But if your prospects and clients think it stinks, then it does!

If You Can’t Control The Distribution, Control What’s Being Distributed!
OK.  So you know that the word-of-mouth process is not under your control, right?  But, what IS under your control is the kind of experience people have when they come into contact with your company.  This is a far more significant truth to embrace.  After all, if you create a ‘Wow’ Experience for your customers or clients or patients, they will talk about you.  And, what they say will help to establish a positive (and, competitive!) perception about your business.

KEY POINT:
Your brand differentiates your business from others to prospective clients.  While you may have little or no control over how people may share your brand with other people, you have 100% control over how they’ll experience your business / understand your brand.

Therefore, seek to create an experience with your business that makes people say, “Wow!”. 

Every contact you make with a client or prospective client is a ‘Moment of Truth’.

You either make or break it . . . depending on how well you respond to the situation.

Much like our friend here on the right . . .

A Tail of Getting It Right
Recently, we had to take one of our cats to the Veterinarian for a dental cleaning.  While we love and trust our Veterinarian, we were a little apprehensive about this procedure because our pet would need to be anesthetized.

As a safety measure, our Vet did need to draw blood to analyze it as a way to make sure our cat could safely undergo the anesthesia and the dental procedure.  We expected that.

Surprise! . . . It  Isn’t Always a Good Thing
When we picked up our beloved Jake at the end of the day we got a surprise.  Actually a couple of them!  The bill for the dental cleaning was significantly higher than we expected.  Only a few months earlier, his sister Jasmine had her teeth cleaned and the bill was about half of what we were being charged for Jake.

The fee, while a surprise, didn’t concern us as much as the basis for the fee.  It seems there was more than one blood test performed.  That made us question if something had been ‘discovered’ from the first blood test that suggested a problem with Jake’s health.  In addition to that, there was a charge for “ICU services” and ‘hydration with lactated Ringers Solution’ that seemed odd and created a lot of consternation in my wife and I.

After sharing our concerns with our Vet and her practice manager, our fears about Jake’s health were allayed and the billing was adjusted.  Why?  Because it was the ‘right thing’ to do.  As a result, we’re even more pleased with our Veterinarian and her practice manager.

Look, things do happen.  That’s life.  But remember — it’s what you do AFTER things occur that is most telling about Y-O-U.

When The Bloom Goes BUST!
Also this week, a new garden shop opened in my town.  

They managed to get a nice piece written up and published in a local paper. The former owner had passed away.  A subsequent buyer tried to rekindle the magic but shut the doors within a year.  So now this newest owner seemed to suggest a ‘turnaround’ was about to happen.

Hello?  Is Anyone There?
The Garden Center’s ‘Grand Opening’ was last Sunday.   On Tuesday, my wife called to find out their operating hours.  No one answered the phone.  No machine.  Nothing.  So she went there to buy some products for the garden. Incredibly, there was no one at this ‘brand new’ Garden Center.  It was locked.  No staff.  Nothing.

Joyce then proceeded to go to a nearby competitor and bought what she needed.  When she told me what happened, she concluded with, “. . . and if they think they’ll ever see my money, they have another thing coming!”.  They lost a customer before they were open a week!

KEY POINT:
Good management is the basis for great marketing.  Promoting a firm that makes a customer or client mad, sad or scared is a guaranteed road to ruin!

Seen your doctor lately?  You probably get more ‘face time’ at a speed-networking event than you get with your doctor!

It’s not the doctor’s fault.  Today’s M.D. sees, on average, about 60 patients a day.  Do the math.

In an eight hour working day, that means the average patient gets about 8 minutes with their doctor.  Some get more.  Many get less.  Not much time to ‘build the physician-patient bond’, is it?

Relationships Matter
In a world where most of us have more to do than time to do it, it’s easy to give clients less time and attention than they’d like.  Easy but also deadly.

Because if you do, you do so at our own peril.

A Quality Experience Is a Great Differentiator
To your client, a sincere, authentic, and heart-felt connection with you is . . . priceless.  It doesn’t take much.  But, it takes time.  Time to listen to what is troubling them.  Time to communicate you care.  Time to let them know you care about what they care about.

I like to say, “Treat your clients like prospects” . . . because they can be stolen away if you neglect them.  But I also like to say, ‘Treat your prospects like clients” . . . so they will know what it’s like to be your client.

Take Time to Make a Difference!
Either way, take the time you need to make your prospects, clients and centers-of-influence feel important.  It doesn’t take much time.  But it does require a commitment to help people see you differently because you make them feel better about their issues after sharing time with you . . . better than any alleged competitor who’s too ‘time-starved’ to care to act better.

KEY POINT:
People want to feel SPECIAL . . . take the time to make them feel that way and they’ll love you for it!

I just read where Apple has become a largely iPhone company.

In 2012 Q1, the iPhone generated 58% of Apple’s revenue.  58%!!!

A mere 5 years ago, Apple didn’t even have the iPhone, much less the enviable position in the cell-phone marketplace it now commands.

So I guess the blog title isn’t quite correct, eh?  Some things DO change.  But wait . . .

What Made This Possible?  
Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, in a related story, talked about why Apple would remain a ‘top choice’ even though some cell-phone carrier subsidies may be reduced in the future:
“. . . our focus is on making . . . a phone that delivers an off-the-charts user experience that customers want. At the end of the day, I think that carriers . . . want to provide what their customers want to buy.”

An ‘OFF THE CHARTS USER EXPERIENCE’
Ironically, while the MODE of Apple’s revenues has changed to reflect it’s huge success with the iPhone, the BASIS of what makes Apple so successful has NOT changed.

As Cook pointed out, Apple’s ‘secret sauce’ is to create such a compelling and exquisite experience for people who buy and use Apple products that, all things being equal, there’s really no basis for comparison with an Apple product.

There’s a lesson there . . . I hope you see it.  More importantly, I hope you APPLY it!

KEY POINT:
Understanding what your client wants . . . and providing it in an elegant and compelling manner . . . generates an experience that produces repeat sales, increasing revenues, more profit-ability and growing brand loyalty.   

 

 

 

 

Four (4) things prospects like to know when they first meet you:

WHAT . . . do you do for your clients? (Value Proposition)

WHO . . . you do that for? (Target Market / Ideal Client)

HOW . . . you do that? (Secret Sauce)

WHY . . .  are you better than other firms? (Unique Selling Proposition)

Your TALKING LOGO addresses most of these questions.  But what’s the REAL basis for ‘standing out’ from your competitors?  It’s NOT (darn it!) as easy as crafting a great message you can use when you meet someone for the first time.

How Do You STAND OUT . . . to a Prospective Client?
Years ago a famous marketing professor at Harvard Business School (Ted Leavitt) was asked to help a major accounting firm ‘differentiate’ their audit services.  A major corporation’s audit business is worth a LOT of money to the accounting firm that “wins the audit” away from other competitors.

To differentiate a product or service, it must be BOTH:

1)  Beneficial . . . i.e. it must offer a meaningful benefit, and
2)  Unique . . . i.e. it can’t be like anything else

Then, he explained the challenge . . . “If something is truly beneficial, it won’t be ‘unique’ for long — competitors will follow suit and if something is truly unique, maybe what you’re offering isn’t all that beneficial”.

Everything this firm offered in an audit was also being offered by their competitors.  So where was the opportunity to differentiate?  It didn’t (seem to) exist!

The Challenge of Differentiating Your Business and Services
But Leavitt had an idea.  He asked to interview their best audit clients to learn, “WHY . . . did they choose your firm to get an audit?”.  The client agreed.

A large number of their clients later told him, “We just liked them better than any other firm”.

“Perception IS Reality”
In marketing, being ‘liked’ isn’t about being ‘nice’ (even if you are!).  It’s about being seen as a Preferred Provider relative to your competitors.

The clients suggested a number of PERCEPTIONS about Leavitt’s client and told him that it was how they behaved during their meetings that convinced them his client was the ‘best firm’ to use to get that audit.

Basically, what they SAID and DID convinced these prospects to go with Leavitt’s client!

The Big Lesson Here
Ask your ‘best clients’ the question, “Why did you choose OUR firm?”.  Follow that up with, “What did we SAY or DO to make you believe we were ‘the best’ firm to use?

You’ll learn what you need to say and do in front of prospects . . . to ‘Stand Out’ from the crowd of your (alleged!) competitors.