A few years ago I was exhibiting at a trade show where there were other translation companies exhibiting their businesses. A gentleman came to my booth to ask me what I was selling. I started my selling conversation by sharing with him my well-prepared elevator speech and telling him of the excellent quality and state-of-the art technology we offered that would allow him to get cost-effective translations. When I was about to ask him how my company could meet his company’s needs, he abruptly stopped me and asked, “What do you do differently from other translation companies?” That question took me by surprise and I stumbled with my words while giving him an answer.
I didn’t get that gentleman as a client, but what a good lesson I learned that day. It was definitely a wake-up call for me. I came back from that trade show thinking, what do I really do differently from my competitors? How could I compete with all those other providers that offer the same old “quality” translation services? How could I stand out from the crowd? What was my unique selling proposition?
A unique selling proposition is key in your business. If you don’t know what makes you unique, you will be competing primarily on price. If you work so hard, why should price be the only decision factor? We all want to be compensated for our work. So, if you don’t want to compete on price, it is critical that you unearth that very special characteristic that will make your clients decide to work with you as opposed to your competitors.
Here are some tips that will help you to define what sets you apart.
Make a list of your credibility features. What you offer in terms of an added advantage in your positioning in the marketplace has to do with your credibility features. Perhaps you created a program or a system that nobody else has. Perhaps you have received special awards or mentions related to your offering. Perhaps you use a piece of technology that is revolutionary in your industry. Maybe you are a member of a board of directors of some organization. Think about all those things that not everybody in your industry has the privilege of bragging about. That’s unique.
Learn your unique way of doing business. As human beings, we are all different. Not even a set of identical twins is the same. There are lots of people out there doing the same thing than you do, but dig into identifying your unique way, your own personality, your style, those extra touches you add to your offering, and those different ideas you created on how to provide your services to increase your clients’ benefits.
Clearly communicate your uniqueness. Create a clear statement about your unique features that you can use everywhere and all the time, and use it consistently throughout your marketing material. Become an expert on communicating to the world what you do so differently from your competitors. That statement does not have to be long. The more precise it is, the better.
Don’t be shy when someone asks you what makes you so different from those than do the same thing. It’s perfectly fine to brag about your specialty. Remember, what is important is to stand out from the crowd. You won’t stand out from the crowd if you hide behind your shyness or just keep it to yourself.
Focus on the benefits, not so much on the process. We love what we do, right? But the fact that we love our offering doesn’t mean everybody has to know all the different steps we must follow to produce our wonderful product or deliver our service. Clients want to know what we are going to do for them. They have pains and our job is to provide the “cure” for those pains. We are their problem-solver. Tell the world how they will benefit from working with us.
You are the problem-solver. Confidence creates trust. When you walk around the world sharing with everybody your unique selling proposition, it is important that you are totally convinced that you can help your clients with your services. Otherwise, they will not see you as a problem-solver. Your clients are going to pay you to fix their problems. You need to be 100% sure that you have the capabilities, knowledge, experience and that special touch that will make a client a client for life.
Remember, developing your unique selling proposition will help you to differentiate your business from your competitors. Your current and potential clients will notice the difference and be willing to establish a long-term business relationship with you. In addition to that, when you are clear on what your unique selling proposition is, your team will have a clear understanding on how they need to deliver your business services. Last but not least, your unique selling proposition is NOT about you. It is how your unique features will help to solve your clients’ problems.