By Joanie Ogg, CTC, MCC
Whenever I am challenged by a computer program, new software and just about anything else that may have warranted someone to author a Dummies book, I usually buy it. Tom laughs at the Dummy Shelf in my office. But just for the record, I have caught him trying to sneak in and borrow one now and again. I am just fine calling myself a Dummy. That means that I want to learn something I do not know and am willing to start at the beginning and claim ignorance. Only when I claim total ignorance am I able to open my mind to the new knowledge.
You may be wondering what this article will be about by now. Well, I recently did a seminar for a group of agents and talked about the importance of knowing and using your UVPs. I kind of figured everyone knew what I meant by UVP until I noticed some blank faces in the audience. I paused and asked how many knew what a UVP was? I loved this audience because instead of all raising their hands, the majority of them said that they didn’t. I kind of thought UVP was a marketing staple as I have been coming across it pretty frequently in my readings. However, since the meaning of UVP needed to by explained, I made some necessary changes in my seminar to allow for time to really delve into UVP’s. The audience responded favorably to the in-depth explanation. I realized that like me, they were open for the new information and were willing to start from scratch to learn.
So let’s talk about UVP’s in a simplistic way and once you read this you will realize you knew all along what they were and you were (or are) probably using them in your marketing activities. Hopefully, this will help you recognize how very important they are and allow you to dig deeper into the science of UVPs to watch your business soar.
Let’s start by asking this basic question.
Why would I buy from you? What are your clients and potential clients probably asking themselves each time they make a buying decision? The answer is in it’s rawest from “What is in it for me?
The basic challenge is to discover and communicate a concise statement of what is the most compelling reason and benefit why someone should book their travel with you. It has to be delivered in such a way that a potential client can automatically answer the “what’s in it for me”question. That is it pure and simple. Sounds pretty easy to figure out, right? What do you do and how can you do it different, or better than anyone else. Why you?
Some people view small businesses like commodities. They think that any accountant is like any other or a dry cleaner is like any other and so on. Well, I can tell that you my accountant is MY accountant. I think they really care about us and making sure we keep our records straight. We benefit from whatever (if any) tax advantages there may be. I believe she sincerely wants the best for us. She is competent and probably has the same credentials as any other accountant but she is MY Accountant. Actually, I now consider her a friend after many years of working with her.
MY Dry Cleaner is Yumiko and she is the best. Sure the process she uses is the same as any other cleaners in town, but she cares. She knows we travel a good deal and she works with us to be sure we have what we need in a timely fashion. She always asks where we have been and is genuinely (or I want to think so) interested in us as people, not just clients. She is appreciative of our business and I believe would stand behind her service with conviction and pride.
Both of these small businesses offer dependable service. They do the job that is expected of them and are honest. However, these are not points of differentiation from other similar companies. I expect the basics, but what I get are the extras. The extras are their UVP for me.
An effective UVP communicates your unique ability to fill a void in the marketplace or to define why clients should select you. Your UVPs shout your unique qualities that are the reasons clients should award their business to you. Your UVP can be your single most powerful marketing weapon.
To craft a UVP for your business, make a list of all the benefits of doing business with you. Don’ t leave anything out.
Then refine the list using these guidelines.
1. What things on your list are unique to you specifically?
2. Which of these UVPs is most important to your clients?
3. Which of these would be difficult for others in your industry to duplicate?
4. Which of these can be easily communicated to potential clients?
Now that you have your list you can narrow it down to the top one to three benefits, as to why someone should do business with your agency. After that, you simply begin to use this chief benefit, or your UVP in everything that you do. Come up with statements that promote your UVP, put a statement on your letterhead, your business card, your email signature, your website and on every piece of marketing material that you use. The goal is to promote your UVP as if it is almost second nature.
I think that if you try this exercise you will find that YOU is likely your UVP. Your customers, like me, will want to do business with people who sincerely make a connection with them and make the buying experience a truly memorable and positive experience.