There are many ways to develop your USP (unique selling proposition) to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Once you have developed your USP, you can charge more than your competition and get the right-fit clients far easier.
One example that recently crossed my radar due to getting my German shepherd pup, Rocket, is Nashville K-9 training. Unlike most dog trainers, who focus on the basic “don’t pee in the house” and “sit-stay” commands, they specialize in police and executive protection dog training.
While they offer other services, this is the area where they shine. They do this so they can charge $25,000 to take your dog for 2-3 weeks to train them to protect you and your family. Yep, $25,000. That’s roughly 8,300% more expensive than what Petco charges for a series of six private lessons (based on my last check, they charge approximately $50 per session).
Want more? They have over 150 five-star reviews on Google compared to Petco, with 270 ratings and an average of 4.1. As you might guess, the K-9 group focuses on affluent clientele who want a highly trained killing machine and working dogs for police officers. Yes, it’s a smaller audience, so fewer leads and opportunities exist. But they only need one client to generate $25,000, whereas Petco needs 84.
That’s not to say that Petco is incorrect; they simply have a different model.
Another example is Infusionsoft, now Keap. When they initially launched, they focused on the small businesses that were trying to implement multi-step, complex direct response marketing systems and follow-up. They did not attempt to be “a better” CRM or software development platform than their competition. They specialized in a very small niche and have succeeded because of it.
Amazon initially only sold books. Zappos only sold shoes. Starbucks was only coffee.
Each of these started carving out market share by specializing in ONE THING.
Naturally, as your business expands, you will need to start adding services, products, and even niches to continue the growth, but initially, you have to specialize in one thing.
However, most businesses lack the discipline to concentrate on a core competency or niche and stick with it. Essentially they’re a hot mess, zigzagging all over the map, unsure what they are good at, often not getting great at anything, and being too diluted.
They spread their resources, time, and attention to an overbroad audience. Businesses waste a lot of marketing, selling to and servicing clients that are far from perfect out of desperation for sales and a lack of a system for getting the exact client they want.
Because your prospect is buried in options and inexperienced in what to look for; they tend to move toward those who position themselves as specialists. If I have an acute elbow injury, I’m not going to the Minute Clinic or generic doc-in-the-box – I’m going to go online and find a specialist. The same goes for any number of needs and problems.
So, when you insist on positioning as a generalist, you lose the power of differentiation. You also lose the ability to give your prospect clear-cut reasons why they should buy from you when priced higher (and there’s ALWAYS someone out there willing to do it cheaper).
First, business success depends on getting extremely clear on WHO you want as a customer.
Second, is knowing how direct response marketing works. (Watch the Ultimate MSP Marketing Blueprint here.)
Before you can specialize, you need to know who you’re specializing FOR and what you will be compared to competition. When you’re starting with limited resources, I suggest making that niche very, very tight. Only expand once those who fit that profile are completely exhausted and have generated sufficient resources to grow.