Many small businesses take pride in making statements about their business and thinking that this is marketing:
- We are professional (as if we would be sloppy and careless)
- We are experts (as if we would be unqualified and ignorant)
- We are client focussed (as if we would offer poor service)
- We have been operating since….. (so have many other businesses)
- We are big, successful, growing (size may not matter and many businesses are like this)
Yet all are bland “me too” statements and could be made by any other product or service provider in their field. The business is reduced to a commodity player and the future client struggles to decide which one to make an enquiry with.
It is the challenge all generalist products and service providers face. There is no compelling ‘why’: whyshould I, as a prospective client, get in touch?
It is also why well-defined niche services and products flourish.
Furthermore, these statements are internally focussed and are all about the business – as if somehow that matters to prospective clients.
Clients care about two things:
- Do you get me?
- Do you take the time to understand ME – or are you communicating through preconceived ideas?
- Do you listen to me?
- Do you get my world?
- Do you understand my business and the challenges we face?
- Do you really bother to find out about my problems, challenges, constraints and frustrated opportunities?
Successful marketing is about addressing these two questions and coming up with ways of meeting clients’ challenges, addressing and fixing their problems, removing constraints and helping them realise frustrated opportunities.
But first you have to understand those questions.
Then and only then can you start to explore how you might be able to help the client.
Clients buy value – the difference your service or product makes to them. In their world. And that exists at the nexus between your services and the challenges they face.
When businesses say that they are solution providers, it is a big “so what”. It is akin to a pub saying that they offer good food. How is the food good? What is special about the way it is prepared, the ingredients, the style of food? Is there any meaningful difference and, importantly, is that what clients value?
Of course your business, service or product should be a problem-solver – but if you have not addressed the first two questions then you are pre-supposing the problem.
Differences that matter – that clients value
Your marketing messages and offers – your value proposition – should be focussed around the following suggestions:
- Specific problems you address and fix
- The unique experience that clients enjoy
- Results that you can deliver
- Unique methodologies or technology that you use in serving clients
- Constraints that you remove – freeing up time, energy, money
- Business or personal opportunities you help realise.
One of our previous clients is an accounting practice focussed on offering taxation and business advice to small businesses. General, non-specific, me-too. We worked with them to develop a tightly focussed service offering aimed at small business owners: stop paying rent to your landlord; start paying rent to your super. It was focussed on
- Business owners that leased their business premises on a longer-term basis
- Those that were concerned about their long-term security of tenure. A landlord might not renew the lease which would be very disruptive and a threat to their business success
- Wanted to create an asset for their longer-term well-being.
The focussed nature of the offer made the marketing much easier – generating significant interest and business.
Step outside your business and into your client’s world. The more you understand them, the better you will be able to serve them. And enjoy success for yourself.
If you want help on how to stand out from the crowd and create meaningful value for your clients then just contact us for a chat.