Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Do you stand out in a crowd?

Dare to be different...stand out from the crowd. by RiaPereira
Dare to be different...stand out from the crowd.,
a photo by 
RiaPereira on Flickr. 
"I'm in a saturated industry," the financial planner commented.  He was a bit frustrated with the difficulty he has been having in generating a large enough customer base to meet his career goals.

It sounds like he sees himself as a commodity, or he thinks that prospective customers see him as a commodity, something that they can access almost anywhere.  When you're a commodity, customers can't differentiate between you and other providers, and that means that you'll probably be competing on price or some other criteria that may seem trivial or irrational. Sure, you might find yourself in the right place at the right time and fall into some new business, but what makes customers see the value in choosing to come to YOU?

Your Unique Selling Proposition is the thing or the sum of things that sets you apart from the field.  Do you know what yours is?  Are you:

  • Possessing the highest professional credentialing?
  • Open for business 24/7, so they can have service whenever they want or need it?
  • Able to develop new and different solutions - ones nobody else can see?
  • Exacting and detailed in your analysis?
  • A master of follow-through?
  • A paragon of integrity - you do what you say you will do, without fail.
  • The guy who wears the fedora?
  • A technological leader in your industry?
  • Do you sing while you serve dinner?
Attracting notice is one thing - providing real value is another.  The first will get you to the table of opportunity, but the second will determine whether you can bring opportunity to its fulfillment. Said another way (must be hungry while writing this,) the sizzle can attract people, but they will expect steak if they are to come back - and tell other people about you, too.


Rand MacIvor said...

Good post, Julie. The USP is about differentiating from your competition (mostly through benefits) while "standing out" is a broader, sometimes negative thing (laughs a lot, wears lampshades). Both can create "top of mind" awareness but to what effect - negative or positive. :o)

Julie Poland, certified business coach said...

I was just thinking about some instances where an individual or company wasn't standing out in a positive way. I agree completely - unique is better when it's attractively unique, or at least not abrasively or repulsively unique!