In this Unit, we will continue our focus on personal and business branding, and learn more about your business and marketing perception. This creativity will be complemented with:
- A closer look at personal and business values and how to try and let go of those values that may hold us back from achieving others;
- A closer look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats our businesses face.
Finally, the important area of resilience will be discussed at length through the Lifeline Exercise. The Unit as a whole is therefore designed to give you a new and fresh business perspective, visualising what you have been working on for the past few days/weeks/months/years.
Parts of this unit
Unique Selling Point (USP)
Networking is an opportunity to sell yourself. Whilst this can seem an uncomfortable idea for many, it doesn’t have to be a cold sell scenario when networking. Your overall aim is to make sure people you meet when networking will remember you and therefore be able to point opportunities your way when they come along. One way to ensure you are memorable is to work out your USP – Unique Selling Point.
- What exactly is it that you are offering to potential clients?
- What benefits are you able to offer your clients?
- How do you differentiate yourself from others offering the same goods/services?
- What are you able to offer to match or exceed clients’ expectations?
Answering these questions should help you to develop a Unique Selling Point that will make you stand out from other businesses.
Developing Your USP
Think of your answers to the following questions?
- What is unique about my knowledge, skills and abilities?
- What is it that clients are looking for?
- What do I do that no one else does?
- What can I do that matches or exceeds expectations?
- What do I do to make sure my client gets what they want?
- What is my ‘story’ in terms of how I have made impact?
- What is the main reason I have set up my business?
- What need or want is my client really trying to satisfy?
- What feedback have I had about my product/service and what does this say about me and my approach?
My Unique Selling Proposition is:
You can use your thoughts from your USP to develop a 10-second intro about you to grab attention. For example:
I’m Lynn Stanton and I’m a freelance web designer. My expertise lies in designing unique and funky shopping cart websites that enhance profits for clients.
Exercise: Elevator Speech
Besides a USP, you can also prepare your ‘elevator speech’, which is your 20-30 second ‘blurb’ which you could relate to someone with confidence if you were trapped in a lift with them. Imagine it’s an opportunity to pitch yourself to someone important. It needs to be interesting and memorable. It needs to put a positive spin on what you do. It needs to clearly capture what you do in no more than 30 seconds. You could develop a different speech for different occasions; formal and informal. On occasions this will be more personal as it’s not always appropriate to be too business focused.
“My name’s Liz Jones and I’m a senior accountant at Bridges and Hayter. I love my work. I find ways to legitimately save people money by helping them pay less tax. That always makes people happy. I have a portfolio of personal and commercial clients that I do that for.”
Freelance IT Consultant
“I’m Sue Smith and I’ve been a senior IT Consultant for 4 years but I have 15 years in the industry. Most of my projects focus on data security. I helped the Inland Revenue get back on track after that problem they had losing data. There are always solutions and I pride myself on finding them. I’ve just started an interesting project with a large health trust integrating their systems; patients are going to appreciate not having to repeat their personal details when faced with members of staff in different areas.”
This doesn’t come easy to the British; it feels self-promoting, arrogant and cheesy, but it is necessary.
You can also incorporate action verbs in your elevator speech which give a sense of movement, dynamism and vitality e.g.
Your mental attitude also needs to be positive. The mental attitude with which you present your story can promote you positively or be detrimental. Avoid focusing on negatives.
“I’ve not worked now for 10 years and I’m a data analyst but am really out of touch. I’m trying to get back into an organisation where they won’t mind training me up. I’m prepared to start at the bottom again.”
“I’ve been taking a career break but I’m really excited about getting to grips with the latest issues in data analysis. My 10 years at IBM gave me a great grounding. I want to stretch myself in my next post and get into…”
The positive presentation is far more appealing. Who would you rather spend time with or trust to build a relationship with?
The negative presentation says a great deal, perhaps more than you might want to communicate: this person is low in confidence, worrying about being out of touch, possibly cheap to hire as the person is willing to take a pay rate at the bottom again, possibly needy and there is a risk of them not being able to make it to strict deadlines.
The positive presentation could be from a person in exactly the same circumstances, but the presentation leaves you with a positive impression of their abilities and general attitude: enthusiastic, keen to learn, values previous experience, has sector credibility with previous employer, keen to develop and face a challenge, willing to go beyond their comfort zone.
Have a go and develop your elevator speech.
A Persona helps you to better understand and visualise your target customers. It is a fictional, generalised character that describes the personality, interests, pains, goals and behaviour of a typical customer. With a Persona it is easier to make deliberate decisions about developing and targeting your product or service.
Aspects of your clients’ persona that you need to think about:
- Personal characteristics: give your Persona characteristics, i.e. name, age, gender, occupation, marital status, location, etc.
- Personality: what is the personality of your Persona? Is s/he introverted or extroverted? Does he make well-considered decisions or does he use his intuition?
- Goals: what does your Persona want to achieve or live for?
- Frustrations: what are reasons why your Persona is unhappy or what aspects is your Persona missing in his/her life?
- Bio: what are the important aspects that are typical for your Persona?
- Interests: what hobbies and passions does your Persona follow besides his/her job?
- Preferred channels: what are typical channels that your Persona uses for contact with organisations?
- Brands: what are typical brands that your Persona buys and is loyal to?