Are you playing to your strengths?

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You (and your business) are really good at something.

Maybe it’s a tangible skill related to how you create or deliver your product or service.  Maybe it’s an intangible soft skill like active listening or customer follow-up.

Whatever it is, it’s one of only a few things that really makes you different than your competition…but if you’re like a lot of business owners, you don’t play up that strength when you tell people what you do.

Southwest Airlines is a great example of a business that plays up their strengths.  They’ve built their business and gone to great lengths to tell people they are the Low Cost airline and the On Time airline – in fact these are key drivers that they consistently use to manage their business. 

They’re so effective at being the low cost airline, that I rarely even check alternatives if I’m looking for a flight – wouldn’t you like to put your business into a category without real competition!  That’s what playing to your strengths can do.

What’s your strength?

You probably have several of them, but what really makes you stand out…what are the 2 or 3 differentiators that your competition has trouble matching?  What aspect of what you do is different or better than most of the rest of your industry?

Are you the hairdresser that listens and does what the client wants rather than pushing her own style, that specializes in curly and difficult hair?

Are you the marketing writer that brings big time Ad Agency experience with a 1 on 1 personal touch?  That excels at writing for the web?

If you’re having trouble coming up with something, call a few of your best customers and ask them what makes you stand out – why did they choose to go with you?

If you still can’t figure it out or if you don’t really like what you’ve got, maybe it’s time to consciously create some differentiators.  What do you want to be known for?  What are you willing to commit to that goes above and beyond expectations?

What do you do with your strength?

You should pick out 2 or 3 key strengths – if you’ve really thought it through, there really shouldn’t be a competitor that shares all of your strengths.

Now here’s the important part – you know what your strengths are or what you want them to be going forward.  Now you need to start building your marketing message around those strengths, those things that really make you different. 

Prospects need to understand what makes you stand out (and it shouldn’t be price unless you’re Wal-Mart).  To avoid just being one in the crowd, you’ve got to play up your strength.

People that know you want a way to refer you that’s different – let them know what it is that you’re especially good at.  I can refer my friend that does credit card processing, or I can refer my friend that does an audit of your payment processes and find the most effective credit card processing for your business…see the difference?

Start thinking today about what really makes you different and start incorporating that into all of your marketing communications.  Start playing to your strengths.

What’s different about you?  Share your thoughts here, I’d love to hear them.

Shawn Kinkade  Kansas City Business Coach

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