Move the Needle-Get Different

by C.J. McClanahan - March 26th, 2012

What do you know about Benjamin Franklin Plumbing?

I have asked this question to thousands of people and I almost always get the following type of response, “they are always on time” or “they pay you if they show up late”. In reality, their official tagline is “If there’s any delay, it’s you we pay.” They will actually pay you $5 for every minute that one of their plumbers is late.

Why did Benjamin Franklin decide to create a policy that could end up costing them a ton of money over the course of a year? I wasn’t invited to the actual meeting where they made this decision, but I am fairly certain that the leadership at Benjamin Franklin was tired of being price shopped by virtually every single customer that needed a leaky faucet repaired.

In other words, they were tired of being treated like a commodity by the marketplace. They wanted the marketplace to value their services over the competition so that price wasn’t the only factor. They needed to get different.

Guess what? So do you.

Nobody wants to pay too much for a product or a service. As a result, we want to commoditize everything and then choose the item with the lowest price tag. Think about the last time you bought a car. Did you just accept the price the dealer offered? Of course not, you searched the internet, checked multiple dealers and then made the choice with price as a huge factor.
The same is true for most purchases. Last summer I overheard some neighbors discussing whether Marsh or Kroger had the best prices on produce. Notice, they weren’t discussing who had the best produce, but rather, who had the best prices on produce. In a commoditized world, price is everything. The only way to increase your margins is to differentiate from the competition and develop your unique selling proposition (USP).

Luckily, developing your USP isn’t rocket science. In fact, like just about everything I teach, it can be boiled down to three easy steps.

First, find out what the marketplace wants. Most business owners confuse what they want and what the marketplace wants. I am certain that someone at Benjamin Franklin thought that their marketplace (homeowners) really cared about the plumbing skills of their staff when in reality all they care about is that you respect their time!

Next, make certain that you can provide what the marketplace wants and needs. Back in the Benjamin Franklin boardroom, I am certain that someone in operations raised their hand and pointed out that it is nearly impossible to be on time for every visit.

Finally, be sure that you can describe your USP in 25 words or less. Have you ever met a mortgage broker who claims in a 7 minute rambling that they are “helping home owners achieve their dreams”? No – you are providing the funds to buy a house. All anyone wants to know is how they can do it easier, faster and better than the other 10,000 mortgage brokers in the room.

There you go – three steps for getting different. As with most things in life, the solution is simple. All you need to do is choose to execute. Choose wisely.

C.J. McClanahan
Reachmore Strategies
317-576-8492
cjm@goreachmore.com

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