Imagine you are very hungry. You’re walking down the street and you see 2 cafes right alongside each other. The one on the left looks an average coffee shop- reasonably clean, a good range of food items, a few people inside and a sign on the window that displays the name and the year it was established.
But as you look at the shop on the right, the difference between the two is obvious in an instant. There’s a big sign on the front window that says “Passionate about food!” Underneath that it says:
‘We are passionate about food and the pleasure it brings. We’ve developed a range of sandwiches, soups and deserts that are unique, delicious, healthy and freshly prepared each morning in the shop. And we bake our own bread and pastries, and insist on providing you with the highest quality and quickest service…all with a smile.’
Not only that, but this café is packed with smiling people.
PERCEPTION IS THE REALITY
Based on your initial assessment of the cafes which one would you enter first? Why? Was it because the one on the right appeared to offer something better or more appealing? Could it be true that both cafes offered similar products?
It’s these differences that potential customers perceive that make them choose one business over another. And those differences make the customer feel more confident about their decision as well.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?
It simply means “You must differentiate your business” or develop what we call a UNIQUE CORE DIFFERENTIATOR.
Unique Core Differentiators (UCDs) clearly articulate to your prospective customers what makes your business different.
They are the special things about your product or your service or your business that compels customers to buy from you rather than your competitors.
Your UCD should target your customers buying concerns, key frustrations and offer tangible benefits. They form the “core” of your business, permeating every area, in order to fulfill the differentiation promise. Your UCD must be communicated in all your marketing activities in order to work effectively.
WHAT ARE YOUR UNIQUE CORE DIFFERENTIATORS?
Think for a moment about some of the things you think are unique about your business and jot them down.
It could be that your business offers a better or more unique product or service. Or perhaps the specific way you deliver the product or service brings better results for your customers. Maybe you offer a better value (notice I did not say a lower price!), or the experience within your team far exceeds your competitors.
UCDs ARE POWERFUL IN MANY WAYS
A well formed unique core differentiator will target your customer’s hot buttons. They improve your marketing results. It will make you highlight the “benefits” of your product or service rather than just the features.
They give a specific focus to your team. The result is a consistency of purpose to everyone on your team in the way they present themselves and the way they deal with customers.
They improve the operation as a UCD must sit at the core of your entire business and the systems you use.
A strong UCD will help increase sales by bringing customers in and keeping them coming back again and again…all without needing to lower your price.
EXAMPLES OF UCDs
Nordstrom, a major department store in the USA is widely recognised as “Number One” for their customer service. Their UCD is “Every customer demand will be met…without question”
Another one is Bunnings – “lower prices are just the beginning”
FINDING YOUR UCD
Earlier in the article I suggested you right down some possible UCDs you could use. Now look at it from your customers’ perspective.
- What benefits am I providing?
- Is there a key frustrations am I removing?
- What am I willing to go the “extra mile” for in order to be able to differentiate myself?
About David Officen
David is the Founder and Managing Director of proCFO. David combines an accounting and consulting background with commercial experience both as a manager for large commercial businesses and as the owner of private and family businesses.