This week I introduce my new weekly posts called THE BUYING PRINCIPLE- A buyers’ perspective on running a successful, creative business. I hope to give you a slightly different angle on how running and improving your business for better profit doesn’t have to be complicated, costly or use up all your time- after all you have gorgeous things to create!
So… you started making something you loved. Then friends and family loved it too and asked could you make for them and then you thought….. hey…I could earn a little extra cash for this and ……….so you started a business selling at a market stall.
The customers loved it, the feeling was electrifying and the feedback endless. To keep the customer happy you took on board all their helpful suggestions and before long you looked at your table overwhelmed, and found a “business running you”. This was not what you had in mind. Sound familiar?
To gain control again and point this “living thing” called a business back in the right direction the perfect place to start is
FINDING AND KNOWING YOUR USP (unique selling point)
and ultimately does your YOUR CUSTOMER know it?
The first things I would say to the many potential brands that would pitch to me their worthy products:
1. How does it fit into my product mix I currently stock in the department?
2. Why would I choose your product over the many others I stock and potential new ones?
3. How will your product be successful – bottom line how will it make me more sales?
You would be surprised how few people had stepped into my department let alone done their homework on the above questions. I was! All that hard work getting to the appointment stage to blow it on something so fundamental.
Pretty much you would have lost me before I had got to see any of your products.
Knowing the answers to the above questions means you know and understand why it is your customers are buying your products and you have a healthy respect for my business.
So….back to your USP. If you are not sure or things have changed since you first started then get back to basics.
1. Go to a market, a store or a department to see the products that are similar to yours. Make a note of the brands, the price points, why you would buy them and then go back to your product and see where it fits in.
2. Don’t just think of it as a product, it could also encompass your skills, experience or knowledge. In a recent workshop we identified that it wasn’t a product that this business was selling – the unique selling proposition was rather a service, an experience, a feeling. The product was secondary.
3. Ask friends and family what they think makes your product unique. Often those who have seen you grow are the ones that can give you a different perspective. You will be quite surprised.
4. And lastly actually imagine pitching to a buyer, a centre manger or financial institution. What would you say?
Knowing your USP is only the half of it. If you know why it is that your customers buy from you over your competitors – then make sure you make a BIG deal about it.
Next week THE BUYING PRINCIPLE is about building your message around your USP and importantly building your brand. A clear, concise message is imperative in highlighting why current customers buy from you and why customers who don’t – should.