Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead said, "You don't merely want to be the best of the best at what you do - You want to be considered the only one who does what you do."
Perhaps your aspirations are not that high. Possibly you just want to be solid and different from your competition. The problem today in our over communicated society is you must stand out or you are swallowed up by the noise. You must have an uncommon offering that differentiates you in the market place. Customers need to know why they should choose you over your competition. That’s why developing the WHAT of your Inside Advantage is so important.
What exactly is Your WHAT statement? We’re continuing the journey to discovering Your Inside Advantage with the second step. The intention of WHAT is to look beyond the narrow transaction between you and your customer to create an offering that will help and inspire your customers and deliver a meaningful, beneficial experience at every customer touch point.
Let’s look at the steps to discovering your WHAT or a better described as “Your Uncommon Offering.” Take each step seriously and deliberately and be objective as possible in your approach.
- Review your WHO as described in Your Core Customer – WHO. Your WHAT must be sold to WHO, so be sure you understand who your WHO is before proceeding. Be sure you have successfully identified this first.
- Make a list of all the potential offerings that now exist inside of your business. Don’t just list your favorites or those you wish you had, or would like to have in the future. Be realistic and comprehensive. Ask for objective thoughts and observations from those who know your business, employees, vendors, advisors, and customers, especially your most important customers. Make sure you receive candid information on what makes your company different and where possible better than your competition.
- Examine this complete list, paying special attention to those that provide an emotional assurance your customers are seeking. Circle those that offer the potential to retain your current customers and, importantly, attract new customers in sufficient quantity to drive your growth. Don’t land on any single offering just yet. Make sure the growth you will be driving is profitable.
- Now review the complete list and ask yourself for each one these six questions:
- Is it already owned, in part or whole, by a competitor? [Eliminate any option that is not uncommon.]
- Is it discrete – really different from the others on your list, or is it saying the same thing in another way? Eliminate all duplications.
- Could it be combined with another option on your list to make a single more powerful offering? Don’t make the mistake of creating a combination offering that is longer more complex, and less clear. Eliminate those potential offerings that are not compelling enough to stand alone.
- Will it be enduring, or is its appeal based on an idea that has a short shelf life? Eliminate nay offering that can’t stand the test of time.
- Of the remaining options, which single offering will enable you to deliver a meaningful, beneficial experience at every customer touch point? Eliminate those that fail this test.
- Of the options that remain, is there one that delivers the emotional assurance your most important customer needs to remain loyal to your firm? If so, this is very likely your uncommon offering and ultimately your Inside Advantage.
- Draft your statement to express your Uncommon Offering. Length isn’t important right now; however keep it clear, simple and fresh. If possible avoid the jargon of your industry. It is not intended to be advertising copy, but rather a realistic WHAT that will sell your customers and grow your business. Define the tangible benefits as well as the emotional customer experience you deliver today and for tomorrow. Emphasis here on REAL. This should be honest and truly different, and should not be wishful thinking. Work on your statement until it is brief, accurate and precise. You will want anyone who reads it to easily understand it right away.
- Does your WHO statement link with your WHAT statement? It needs to reflect that your core customers want to purchase your uncommon offering.
- Review the list of WHAT Statements from our clients and those from the book The Inside Advantage. Consider them in relation to yours. It is best not to copy them, but rather to use them as a platform to judge your work and to pull ideas from in order to improve your statement. Recognize how these statements communicate its individual uncommon offering. As Robert Bloom notes in The Inside Advantage, “your business is different from every other business- including the ones discussed in this book – and it will only grow if your uncommon offering is absolutely true to your firm’s own customer experience.
Here are a couple of examples From Inside Advantage on Core Customer WHO Statements and WHAT:
High End Jewelry Store
WHO: An affluent local male or female status seeker who is looking for a fashion statement.
WHAT: An incomparable selection of one-of-a-kind jewelry and watches offered in an elegant private setting.
Prominent Wealth Management Firm
WHO: A prospective client with assets of $15+ million to invest plus an intense desire for special services and attention.
WHAT: An expert financial advisor who delivers an unrivaled portfolio of customized services and exceptional investment results.
- Examine your WHAT statement one more time. Is every word meaningful and necessary? Your statement should be brief, clear and concise. Is it as simple and clear as you could make it? Ask yourself the most important question: Will I be totally committed to using this uncommon offering to grow my business every day and in every way? If yes, you have created the most important component of your Inside Advantage! Congratulations!
Can you see where discovering WHO and WHAT can have a powerful impact on your business growth?
Thursday last week The Wall Street Journal reported sandwich chain Quiznos is preparing to file for bankruptcy-court protection within weeks as it contends with unhappy franchisees and a $570 million debt load. WHAT I believe is part of their problem. We’ll explore failure to define their WHAT, and what we can learn from it next blog. Then it’s on to HOW!