LinkedIn: How to STAND OUT with a Unique Selling Proposition

"When you're one-of-a-kind, you have no competition." - Intrigue Expert Sam Horn

Quick. What's your competitive edge? How are you different, better, one-of-a-kind? Why should clients and decision-makers choose YOU over the "other guys?"

One way to stand out is to create a USP - Unique Selling Proposition - that gets people's eyebrows up (a sure sign of intrigue).

How do you come up with your USP? Ask yourself:

  1. How can our company zig where our competitors zag?

  2. How can we do the opposite, not the obvious?

  3. What do we offer that's first of its kind or one of a kind?

  4. Condense that POD (Point of Distinction) into a clever name or tagline.

People will flock to your door, website or product if you distill what's special about you into something intriguing they instantly get and want. Plus, you’ll attract media attention because TV, radio, print and social media reporters are always looking for the next new thing.

For example, a restaurant was losing money because no one was coming to their happy hour. Why? Well, there were dozens of restaurants in their area offering happy hours.

Being like everyone else is a prescription for blending-in ... which is a problem because blending-in is for Cuisinarts, not companies. We want to break-out, not blend-in.

The restaurant manager kept looking for a competitive advantage, something customers wanted, but couldn’t find elsewhere (another way to identify your USP).

One evening, he saw a customer tie his dog up outside and then come in to join friends for a cold one.

Light bulb moment. Why not offer a special happy hour for dog-owners so they could bring their four-legged friend who had been cooped up all day? The restaurant could put out water bowls, hand out dog biscuits and offer a special discount for dog-owners who brought their canine pal. It was a win for everyone.

What to call this “petworking” opportunity?

Use a POP! technique called “Alphabetizing” in which you talk your key word through the alphabet to coin a brand new word that gets people’s attention. “Appy Hour, Bappy Hour, Cappy Hour, Dappy Hour” and eventually you get to “Yappy Hour!”

You may be thinking, “Big deal, so it’s a clever name.” You bet it’s a big deal. The Washington Post wrote an article about the throngs of people showing up for the Alexandria, VA Holiday Inn’s wildly popular (and profitable) “Yappy Hour.”

That article was picked up by newspapers across the country. Now, millions of people know about their “Yappy Hour.” This nation-wide publicity generated a dramatic increase in name recognition and revenue . . . all for a few minutes of strategic brainstorming that helped them come up with a USP that made them one-of-a-kind vs. one-of-many.

If your business isn’t making as much money as it could or should, chances are you’re offering the same products/services as everyone else. That means potential clients have no reason to pick you over the "other guys" because you look all alike.

As a communication consultant who’s studied the art and science of intrigue for 20 years, I’ve developed a step-by-step process for identifying a USP that gives you a competitive edge and gets your organization, idea, product or service noticed . . . for all the right reasons.

Want more ideas and examples of how to POP! your business and brand with a one-of-a-kind USP? Check out my book POP! which Ken Blanchard recommended as "A lively, fun, and inspiring guide to getting heard, getting remembered, and getting results."

Read the original article on LinkedIn.

Why Never to End a Talk with “Thank You” – and What To Do Instead

Do you know how most speakers, managers and committee chairs wrap up their presentations and meetings? “Thank you for listening.” “We’re out of time. That’s it for today,” or “If you have any questions, please let me know.”

Talk about leaving results on the table! From now on, instead of trailing off or ending with a passive close that doesn’t inspire followup, plant specific action seeds such as:

“What is one thing you’ll do differently when you get back to the office tomorrow?”

“What exactly are you going to say if potential clients object to our fee?”

“When you get home tonight, where will you post your reminder card?”

“What tangible results will you report back at our Monday morning meeting?”

“At our next break, at 2:30 . . .”

In fact, those four words “At our next break …” helped an entrepreneur named Marcia motivate a room full of investors to follow-up with her. Marcia was scheduled to give a funding pitch for her startup in the afternoon following lunch. She was worried audience members would be half asleep, so we crafted a sixty second close to make sure people were crystal clear how they could follow up with her. Here’s what she said:

“I’m Marcia, the one with the white, spiky hair … .

At our next break at 2:30, I’ll be at our table in the right-hand corner of the lobby.

If you’d like a product demonstration, a copy of our financial projections, or would like to meet our CTO to discuss our patented software; you’re welcome to come by.

Once again, I’m Marcia with the white, spiky hair. I look forward to seeing you at 2:30.”

Guess who was surrounded by people at the next break? You’re right, Marcia. Why? She was the only one who gave three specific ways and reasons to continue the conversation. She:

* Repeated her name in her close to imprint it. (Think about it. After a long day, how many speakers’ names can you recall? And if we don’t know someone’s name, we’re not likely to approach them.)

* Made a visual self-reference so she stood out in the crowd. (This is not trivial. How will people be able to pick you out in a sea of suits unless you give them a colorful clue such as, “I’m Bob, the one in the green jacket” or “I’m Patricia, in the red suit.”)

* Identified a specific time and location where people could connect with her. (Don’t be vague. Say, “I’ll be by the front desk from 3-4 pm.” Or “You’re welcome to call me during office hours on Monday between ten and noon.” Or “I’ll be back in Texas September 3rd and would be glad to schedule an in-person appointment.”

* Offered three incentives for continuing the conversation. (Far too many people trail off with a passive, “Please let me know if you have any questions.”)

By the way, do you notice a pattern in these suggestions? They offer people OPTIONS instead of giving them ORDERS.

Do you know anyone who likes to be ordered around? Telling people, “You need to” “You have to” or “You should” elicits a “Grr, you’re not the boss of me” reaction. Offering a variety of strategic choices gives people the freedom and autonomy to select a course of action that’s most appealing and relevant to them. They are a lot more likely to initiate action – because they want to, not because they’re being told to.

Pilot Chuck Yeager said, “At the moment of truth, there are either reasons or results.” What will you do at the end of your meeting to increase the likelihood people take action and produce beneficial results as a result of their time with you?