If you’ve followed along with the previous blogs on discovering Your Inside Advantage, WHO and WHAT, your among the few who are disciplined enough and smart enough to know the value of discovering a marketing strategy that can give you a competitive differentiation in your market.
HOW is your persuasive strategy, or more simply how you convince your prospects?
On the surface that appears straightforward. If you have sales staff, they’re doing that every day aren’t they? What are they saying and how are they convincing your prospects to purchase your product or service? Discovering your HOW is truly the critical step in differentiating your business from your competitors’ businesses.
As defined in The Inside Advantage HOW is the persuasive strategy that will convince your core customer to buy your uncommon offering versus all competitive offerings. The italics represent the work you’ve done already when developing your WHO (core customer) and WHAT (uncommon offering).
HOW must be easily understood and credible to both your current and potential customers. More importantly it should be woven into the fabric of your WHO and WHAT. HOW enables you to sell WHAT to WHO.
So let’s create a simple and believable HOW.
Bob Bloom doesn’t believe that any service or product is a “commodity.” He believes that commodization occurs only when a firm allows it to happen.
Is your business facing commodization? The book offers several examples of companies that faced this obstacle, SFK a Swedish company called the world’s largest maker of industrial bearings, and even Neiman Marcus. The solution is a persuasive strategy. In SFK’s case, their approach might be considered a prologue to Mastering the Complex Sale. Bloom suggests their HOW: solve the special needs of each customer by directly and consistently involving our sales, development, and production teams with their management and technical experts.
Neiman Marcus faced a sales slump that occurred in the summer and continued into September and October in Texas. Stanley Marcus decided to create artificial events to get customers into the store. This has since been copied by many retailers, but never duplicated by the numerous festive social occasions that Neiman Marcus created in Dallas. Bloom suggests should Stanley Marcus crafted a HOW for his stores it would be: Celebrate the tradition, culture, craftsmanship, and fashion of a famous nation in a 14 day October event that will captivate our clientele, create festive occasions for chic attire, and generate acclaim for our brand.
Here from the book are five hallmarks of a good persuasive strategy:
- It must be action-oriented, not just a vague promise or sincere commitment
- It must define the specific action right up front; the first word must always be an active verb.
- It must be strategic, not tactical- it must state, “what” your product will actually do, not “how” the product will do it.
- It must be honest and achievable, not imagined and unaffordable.
- It must be tightly integrated with your definitions of the core customer and reality of your uncommon offering.
Rather than provide the steps the book offers to find your HOW, I’m going to provide some suggestions should you decide to do this on your own. Once you’ve reviewed your WHAT and WHO, often times the HOW can arrive quickly. The key here is to achieve clarity. Does your HOW enable you to sell your WHAT to your WHO? If you have a sales team ask them whether they feel confident that the HOW works?
When I worked with Bob Bloom directly I struggled with my HOW, but it came together much faster than the other elements. One of the helpful hints Bob provided was to write this in easy to understand words. Guarantee was changed to assure. Return on investment was altered to unless they see results they do not pay. Use words that are clear and plain to you and to your customer or prospect.
As always if you’d like help on this subject call or email Positioning Systems. We’ll be happy to help you develop your Inside Advantage or put you in touch with the expert Bob Bloom.
Ever have challenges determining where to invest your advertising dollar, especially supporting non-profits and events? The final step in the Inside Advantage is Imaginative Acts. It will help eliminate your struggle to decide which events and non-profits you should support.