It might be hard to accept but the truth is that your ideal clients don’t love your business as much as you do.
They don’t care how great you think your company is or how long you’ve been in business.
They want to know what sets you apart from your competition.
They’re not interested in cute slogans that offer no obvious benefits. They’re interested in what’s in it for them.
That’s why your business needs a distinct positioning that clearly and concisely gives prospective customers a reason why they should choose you.
Your positioning needs to cut through the clutter they already have in their mind and all the new information that is coming at them every second.
According to the book Positioning – the Battle for Your Mind, by Al Reis and Jack Trout, you need to:
“Sharpen your message to cut into the mind. … You have to select the material that has the best chance of getting through.”
So try to put yourself in your prospective customer’s mind and ask yourself: Why should they buy from you?
Ultimately, this is about finding a unique quality in your business and conveying it clearly. The last thing you want is to try to get customers just by saying “buy from me” or “we’re better”.
You don’t want to be one of those business owners who don’t have a clear, articulate answer when asked about their business.
One of the pioneers of positioning was advertising legend Rosser Reeves.
He coined the term Unique Selling Proposition and set out the following criteria for a good USP in his book “Reality in Advertising” in 1961:
“Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer. Not just words, not just product puffery, not just show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: Buy this product and you will get this specific benefit.”
“The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique – either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of advertising.”
“The proposition must be so strong that it can move the mass millions; i.e., pull over new customers to your product.”
In other words, it should sell – because it is something your prospects really want.
In short, his message was to find one thing that lifts your product head and shoulders above the competition, distill it into a memorable concept or slogan and then repeat it constantly.
To have a clear positioning, you need to identify something special about your business, for example in terms of one of the following:
- Promise e.g. guaranteed outcome
- Benefit e.g. better results
- Product or service e.g. unique features
- Market e.g. only for teachers
- Price e.g. lowest or highest
- Endorsement e.g. from trade association
- Guarantee e.g. money-back promise
- Location e.g. geographic area
Whatever you identify has to be important enough to get consumers clamoring to buy.
As Reeves would say, it has to sell! You need to find your most marketable point and then create an irresistible positioning around it.
A profit-pulling positioning will:
- Identify with a clear want from the marketplace
- Set you apart from your competition
- Give people a reason to buy from you rather than a competitor
- Provide the basis for a successful and growing business
- Reflect your own strengths and passion
- Be difficult for your competitors to copy
When people think of what you sell, you want them to think of you.
You want to create awareness for your business so that when an individual needs what you offer, they choose you immediately.
You don’t want to just exist in the marketplace; you want to be the company of choice!