Question: I’ve been in the network security industry since about 2010. Is that something that I can use to build a story around my unique selling point?
Robin: I mean, it’s definitely one of the points. I don’t know if it makes you unique because there might be other people who’ve been in network security for the same amount of time or longer. Think about an affinity with a back story. I will give you an example: Airborne.
Airborne is a supplement. It grew from a small business to a massive brand. Airborne is a powdered supplement tablet that you put in your drink and it’s supposed to boost your immune system. Now, there are a million supplements out there that do this. The difference is Airborne was made by a schoolteacher who was tired of getting colds because she was around sick kids all day. The story is what made the product unique.
So, maybe your story is that you’re in cybersecurity, but it could be a job that you held or something about your background like being in the military. You’re going to have to think about this because what you’re looking for is a story or an affinity with a group of people. Let’s say you worked in medicine for years and maybe you were a doctor. So, your talking point is, I understand cybersecurity and I was a doctor, and my dad was a doctor, and I understand how doctors are and how they think, I know how they operate. I know how the insurance companies rob them blind of what they should get paid and the paperwork they have to do. On top of all that cybersecurity is breathing down their necks and it’s unfair because all they want to do is do good in the world and help people and heal people. It could be something like that, right? You need your angle and it’s going to take you some time to craft.
Crafting A Backstory
When I started, the power I built on was purely calling people and saying, “Hey, I’m freelancing now.” I was small. I asked for referrals, I had no website, no list, no products, and I didn’t have credit card processing. I had nothing. I called everybody I knew and I didn’t ask them for work directly, but I would let them know that I went independent and I’m doing marketing consulting. Then I would ask them, “Is there anybody you know who might be looking for somebody who’s a good salesperson, who’s good at selling, marketing, and lead generation?” “Do you know of anybody who might need some help on doing some of that?”
I was really prospecting, but by saying that, some people would say, yeah, you know, hey, we’re actually looking for somebody. Or they would say, no, I don’t know anybody. Do you have a business card or whatever? So, I would put them on my list.
Cold-calling people was my entire marketing plan. This was before LinkedIn and Facebook and all the things, right? I bartered for a website to be set up then I bought my first CRM and that was the only money I ever spent. That is the honest-to-God truth. When I started my business, the one thing I scraped together money for was to buy a CRM because I wanted to build my list and that’s why I’m so passionate about telling people to get a CRM. We use MAP and now I’m telling you that you need it because it’s a great tool for list building.
So a USP can be your backstory. I was doing marketing, lead generation, list building, all the things I teach to get started, and I was able to use that as my USP. This is how you start crafting your USP. Then as your business evolves, you’ll learn your customer better. It took me almost a year before I picked my niche, but then I was able to develop my unique selling proposition and we were off to the races.