Your Value Proposition, And How To Make It Stand Out In The Marketplace
The Case Study:
A major challenge for small business owners is being noticed, especially in today’s competitive world. You want to do more than be noticed, in fact – you want to be distinct, by presenting a compelling value proposition.
Take accounting, for example. Business owners see it as a “commodity” service. Commodities are available in abundance.
Most business owners don’t use accounting to their advantage; they wait until April 13th or 14th, and then they call their CPA in a panic and bring them a shoebox full of receipts.
In other words, if you’re a CPA – you have a lot of competitors. You also have to overcome the personality stereotype – how people view most CPAs (boring, nerdy, stiff, etc).
The customer perceived value for CPAs is lower than it should be. Explaining their unique selling points takes more effort and strategy than, say, selling a Rembrandt or Picasso.
The more choices people have over what they perceive as “identical” services, the more they reduce the decision to dollars and cents.
If one accountant’s as good as the next, why should people pay $500 for a tax return they can get for $350? It’s as if the only way you can establish competitive differentiation is to sell to other CPAs, who already understand the value.
Unique Selling Point
You walk into a room with 20 CPAs, health practitioners, realtors or business coaches. What’s the difference between them? What’s the unique selling point from one to the next?
Look at small businesses’ marketing, services, and promises in any industry. They look and sound the same. They’re camouflaged among others … who also look and sound the same.
A CPA asked me for ideas to make his practice stand out from the crowd. I suggested he offer his clients the opportunity to network with each other. We created a monthly networking event, and it was an instant hit.
We invited his clients to attend (for free) and asked them to bring a friend. Over 150 people attended the first event.
He now had a room full of local business owners. Fifty of them were prospective clients; he had zero competition from other accountants. Wouldn’t you agree – it’s easy to be your own unique selling point when your competitors are nowhere to be found?
I suggested he get a sponsor for each event, to cover the financial cost in return for being mentioned in the marketing of the event and the chance to address the group for 15 minutes. As any CPA would appreciate, these events didn’t cost my client a penny.
From the moment he started networking with his clients as a part of his provided service, he found he no longer had to compete for business based on his fees. His conversion rates went through the roof, too.
In this man’s case, it was not about writing the value proposition, as you would with sales copy.
Customer Perceived Value
It was about becoming one – and it worked, for the same reasons networking always does. The customer perceived value goes up, when people perceive you as a socially prominent leader.
My CPA friend soon charged higher than average fees and won more clients. His retention improved as fewer clients were tempted to leave.
His practice stood out – even though, technically, they were not doing the service differently than their competition.
But they were the only one offering to help customers grow their businesses, and meet new potential customers. They were the only one proactively connecting clients with hundreds of local businesses.
Even with fees 25% higher than average, for many prospective clients it was worth the extra money.
Why spend $350 with a firm that just does your taxes, when you can spend $500 with a firm that helps you increase profits by thousands of dollars AND does your taxes?
You need to move away from the cookie-cutter approach to stand out. It feels comfortable to simply do what’s expected of you… but it’s exhausting, and there’s no money in it.
Doing your own thing is a little scary. It takes commitment to get creative and look for something you can offer that makes your business stand out for all the right reasons.
My best advice on this is to look for inspiration outside your industry. Something common in one industry can be rare or non-existent in another.
By adopting suitable ideas from an unrelated industry and making them your own, it’s possible to create an attractive value proposition.
If you want to explore a standout in the marketplace strategy, I can help!