Entries in selling (3)

Tuesday
Nov022010

Are You Unique Enough?

Today I want to pose a question and ruminate a bit about Unique Selling Propositions (USP). You may have heard the term before or something similar, but basically it boils down to: What do you offer that makes your business stand out from all your competition?

The question I want to pose to all of you is one that Shelly and I are struggling with currently, is your USP enough? We’re pretty confident we’ve got a distinct difference from the rest of our competition, that is those that offer business advice to artists, and it stems directly from who we are and our varied experience in different careers. But we’re wondering if it’s enough, do we need more distinction in what’s becoming a more crowded market?

I’d like to pose the same question to you and I really want you to think about it. Do you do anything that no one else can or does? Do you offer a service or material that’s not currently out there? Is your design style so unique that no one else can come close? There are a few of you that may answer yes to one of those questions, but many of you won’t. Don’t despair!

A USP can be something as simple as how quickly you complete custom orders or the personalized service you give in your shop. It doesn’t have to be amazing new technology or even a product no one else has seen, but it needs to be something that people want to come back for.

Zappos is a great example of a business that had success with a focused USP. There were many places to buy shoes online, so many in fact that the only distinguishing factor between them seemed to be price. Zappos enters the scene and offers free shipping, no matter what, and free returns. Those two simple things made clicking that buy button so much easier for customers. Zappos had more than $1 billion in sales last year.

I do want to stress that your USP also doesn’t have to be about price; actually it’s often not. Think of it from the customer’s point of view. You’re looking for a new pair of shoes and you see two pairs almost identical, but one is almost twice the price of the other. Seems an easy choice right? You choose the cheaper one. But what if you knew the ones that were more expensive would also be so comfortable you could wear them all day, running errands, to work, and even out for a night on the town and your feet wouldn’t hurt. However, the cheaper ones, even though they looked the same from the outside would give you blisters by lunch. If the expensive shoes fit within your budget, wouldn’t you buy them?

A USP is almost always about perceived value, not straight up cost. There will always be someone wiling to do it cheaper. Instead put your focus on your customer's needs. They like things to be easy, they like to have experiences that make them feel special, and they generally buy because they want something, not because we need it.

I’ll leave you with a few things to think about to help you come up with or refine your own USP.

What are the benefits of your product or service?

What do you do that’s different from your competition?

Do you or can you solve a problem for your customers or within your industry?

Be specific. Give proof of your benefit.

Can you consistently deliver on this USP? I mean every single time you make a sale. If not you need to find another USP.

´╗┐Photo by HolgaJen

Friday
Aug132010

A Little Bragging Of Our Own

To jump off Shelly's post about her hesitation to talk about her work I'm going to do a little public bragging about our latest project, 200 Yards.

I too agree that talking about myself, my projects, and my passions is often hard. I'm proud of what I do and excited by it all, but a sudden shyness takes over when someone else notices. Today I was struck with that feeling again as I showed a friend the promotional postcard for the first 200 Yards show and she looked at me with this great smile on her face and said, "This is so great! I remember when you told me about the idea and now you've made it happen. It's real." But I did make this idea happen, the show really came together and I also think it's going to be a great show. I should be proud of that. I should be telling everyone to come to the opening. Yet I still struggle and probably always will.

But...I'm going to take a cue from Shelly's post below and practice sharing. We all have something worthwhile to share, we all have that accomplishment that makes us a little giddy when we think about it. Tell someone!

Photo by Dayman Cash and showing in 200 Yards @ Heart, 1270 Valencia St. @ 24th. Opening reception August 18th 7pm - 11pm showing through September 20th.

Tuesday
Aug102010

It's all right to brag

Something I am terribly bad at - bragging about my work! Actually, to my friends and family's dismay, I become incredibly shy when speaking about my art but love talking about other's creations. Fortunately, I have come to understand the simple relation between talking and selling and have decided that the next few months will be spent practicing. A couple great posts from blogger friends popped up the other day and inspired me to answer a few questions. Do you suffer from this shyness too? Do you find the below questions reflective and helpful?

  • What do you love about being an artist?
  • What projects are you working on right now? Why are you excited about them?
  • What obstacles have you conquered to get where you are today?

These don't seem so bad, do they? Also, they are incredibly good tools to help start an enticing artist statement! I am going to order this book by Peggy Klaus.

artwork by rosie music