magnifyglassquestionsWhen you run a service business, one of your biggest challenges involves differentiating your offering from your competitors – who may not even be in the same field. For instance, people get stress relief from massage, acupuncture, EFT, meditation, aromatherapy and more.

Often clients call me for a consultation because it’s so frustrating to explain what they do. You might have a unique service or you might deliver your service in a special way that’s hard to explain.

You can try saying something, “You get a deeper experience,” or, “We’re more thorough,” but these phrases will come across as vague.

Here are 2 exercises I give my clients to start the process. If you find them useful, please add a comment below.

(1) Write up your service as a client-centric story. For instance, here’s a very abbreviated version of what I might write:
“Mary searched LinkedIn because called she needed a website fast and didn’t have time to shop around for designers, copywriters and techies. My service delivers a full product, which would be called one-stop shopping (except that some people think that term is cheesy). We solved some technical issues with my virtual partners and got the site up in less than a week. She’s already getting more clients and compliments on the new site.”

Now do the same for 1 or 2 other clients, who might be your actual or ideal clients. The general form is

“Ben had a problem with X. He searched online in the search engines and also did …. Then he came across this site ! He did this and this and this, and the results were….”

“Jane wanted to do Y. She found this site by …. and looked for … She was inspired to do …. and the results were …”

Of course you can also write your stories in first person from the client’s perspective.

(2) What do your clients say when they call or message you (after they say hello)? If possible, contrast these responses with those from people who query you but don’t sign up.

For instance, my clients often begin with, “My website is long overdue for a makeover,” or, “I know I’m unique but I can’t pin down my ‘hidden treasure’ or ‘fab factor’ – what makes me really special.”

(3) Get a few friends to play the client role.

For instance, let’s say you’re a divorce lawyer who specializes in mediation rather than adversarial solutions. A friend might say, “OK, if I wanted a divorce, would I be a good candidate for your services?” Then you ask questions like, “Well, do you have a complex case? Is your spouse willing to sign a binding mediation agreement? Why would you consider mediation?”

When I work with clients, I often take on this role and ask, “Suppose I wanted to hire you. Would that make sense?” For instance, I recently worked with an interior decorator. One question I asked was, “If I needed a home office, is this something you would do?” That question led to a whole new approach to the decorator’s services page.

After you’ve got the answers, you’ll have a much easier time distinguishing yourself from competition. Even more important: your copywriting will be so much easier!

If you’d like me to work with you on these exercises (or any other aspect of your marketing), please stop by my services page or just reply to this message.