January 2012 Newsletter
What makes your business special?
Find out by creating your unique selling proposition.
You can strengthen your business, expand it and make it more profitable by taking a few minutes to learn about the unique selling proposition. Whether you have heard of this or not, it exists in your business. It may be a strong proposition or a weak one, but it is there.
When you offer something for sale, you are making a proposition to your prospective customer. For example, you propose to sell her a dress. That is your selling proposition. As you look at the marketplace, you see that there are hundreds of businesses that propose to sell her a dress. What makes your proposition unique? What makes it different, more appealing and irresistible?
There may be many different reasons why your customers buy from your business. You may have the most convenient location. You may have the exact product she wants. You may be reliable and trustworthy in offering quality goods. You may have fair prices. You may be open by appointment. Your may provide personal services such as alterations or wardrobe consulting.
Where does your unique selling proposition come from? You define it. Your unique selling proposition becomes the heart of your business. It is not an advertising gimmick. If it is weak, your business will not stand out. If it is a strong concept created to serve your potential customers, it will help guide your business to success.
How to define your unique selling proposition.
Take a look at your business by answering these questions.
1. What do you sell the most of?
If you already have a merchandise focus, start with that in creating your unique selling proposition. On the other hand, you may sell a bit of this and a bit of that. If so, you may be chasing after every new fad without any focus. A unique selling proposition requires a strong direction in the type of merchandise being offered for sale.
2. Who is your biggest competition?
If your customers donít buy from you, whom do they buy from? You can learn a lot by doing an analysis of your competition. Donít give up just because the competition may be a huge chain. Does that discount Internet site sell authentic merchandise, or is it counterfeit? Does WalMart have convenient parking right at the door or does the customer walk for miles? Does Ross offer alterations or leave it to the customer to correct the fit? Does the store down the street have friendly, knowledgeable staff or are they snooty? Does the outlet mall have first quality goods or are they shop-worn? Does the catalog store deliver the same day or ship for two-week deliver?
3. What special services do you offer?
If you maintain inventory, your customer can buy and take the item without delay. If you do special orders made-to-measure, your customer will have a fitted item. If you do special orders based on your wardrobe consulting, your customer will have personal service. If you offer alterations or referrals for alterations, you customer will save time trying to get the fit corrected. If you make appointments for customers with limited time to shop, your customer wonít waste time trying to get to a shop just as it closes. If you have free, dedicated parking, your customer wonít be chasing around for a parking space.
4. Where is your pricing?
If you offer a fair moderate price for the product and your service, you have a good balance. If you sell at top price for top quality goods and service, you have a strong business base. If you sell at the lowest price, always cutting below anyone else, you have a narrow allowance for profit or no profit. Without profit, you canít have a healthy business.
5. Why should a customer buy from you?
If you have answered the four questions above, you will have a good idea why a customer should buy from you. Keep narrowing it down until you have your unique selling proposition.
Donít underestimate your value in the marketplace. If you are serious about your business then you can find your unique selling proposition. Once you have defined it, use it to help expand your business.
Weak Ė The Wholesale Factory has wholesale clothing at wholesale prices.
This a weak proposition because everyone in the wholesale clothing trade sells at wholesale prices. Thereís nothing specific and unique about the proposition.
Strong Ė The Immediate Resource offers retail womenís apparel businesses the largest selection of first quality merchandise available with same-day shipping.
This a strong proposition because of the combination of large selection with first quality merchandise and same-day shipping. Many wholesalers will offer large selection but itís second quality goods, or first quality goods with two week shipping. But put the three factors together Ė largest selection, first quality and same-day shipping Ė it is unique.
The myth about price
All of us see websites that compete to have the lowest price. It is found in the retail marketplace for everything from turtlenecks to tires. Is price the whole story? What about quality, service and a wide selection?
When was the last time you heard a customer say that price was everything Ė that quality, service and selection didnít matter? Would she buy a turtleneck with loose threads, available in only one color and sold by a rude person? Just to get the lowest price?
No, she wants high quality, good service and a wide selection. Of course, if she can find all that for the lowest price, she gets a bargain. Donít be fooled in todayís marketplace. The price is just one of many other factors that influence a buying decision.
You can overcome the myth about price. Make these your watchwords: I have fair prices for the quality merchandise and service that I provide.
Do I need a website?
The October 2011 newsletter contains helpful information about the Internet and your business.
Your first step to being found on the Internet is a listing on Google Maps. No matter whether you have a store, a home-based business or do shows and conferences, you can have a Google Maps business listing. Itís free; and it shows that you are serious about being in business.
To create a listing or to edit your listing on Google Maps, go to maps.google.com
Look for the link: Put your business on Google Maps. Follow the steps.
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