Direct Selling: Personality Included
2. Are you really any different? What do you own that no one else does? Trying to differentiate on a “cost-of-entry” benefit like service or 24-hour shipping is a very common (and costly) mistake. The customer expects it rather than viewing it as an added benefit, and your competitor easily could claim it as well. You must find the benefit to the customer that only you provide. Your “one thing” must be relevant to your customer as well as unique to your company. This calls for a deep understanding of who the competition is and what matters to “your people.”
3. Do you and your customers speak the same language? Use their words, not your own. Avoid sounding clinical or becoming too feature-oriented, and instead work on building a rapport. You may call it a “Part-12B,” but if your customers call it a speakerphone, you should refer to it as such. Pay attention to what customers say on the phone, on message boards, in testimonials and to your sales force. If your Web site has a search function, find out what the most commonly searched keywords are. Use your findings to develop a vocabulary, and use it in your communications on paper, on the phone and in person where possible. Remember, your customers are telling you what’s important and meaningful to them—you just have to listen.
4. What is the emotional takeaway that your customer receives when doing business with your brand? This is referred to as your “higher order benefit.” Do you make life simpler like Staples does, because “that was easy?” Staples sells the same products as OfficeMax and Office Depot, but it has carved a standout niche that’s important to its customers. The Staples brand reinforces the “easy” benefit by putting a user’s most frequently ordered products right on the landing page (after login). Nextel has translated its “push to talk” technology into a benefit of more efficient and productive employees, which is certainly pertinent to its target audience of small business owners.