When you were a kid, do you remember the “One of These Things” song on Sesame Street?
In case you can’t remember that far back, we kids were shown four items, one of which was different than the other three. The sing-along lyrics to help us solve the puzzle were, “One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t fit.” To this day, that song still runs through my head when I spot a white sock in a dark load of laundry.
In business, we call this concept “differentiation” or your unique selling proposition. And there’s a very good reason for doing it…a lesson we all learned as children: The one that’s different stands out. You want to be the white sock in the dark load.
Differentiation is one of the things we help our clients do. It’s part of our intake process to help you identify how you’re different from your competition so we can build a marketing funnel around it.
You may be surprised to hear that most business owners don’t know how they’re different. You may be even more surprised to hear that we at OnlineStir struggle with it ourselves! The plumber’s house always has leaky pipes, as the saying goes.
We shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves, though. When we’re standing in the middle of a crowd, it’s hard to spot the differences. It’s especially hard to identify the “one of these things” about our own business when it’s covered up by our own derriere (IOW when we’re sitting on top of it).
But knowing your differentiating factor is what separates the wheat from the chaff. If you stand up at a networking event and say, “I sell real estate,” that doesn’t set you apart in any way from the other three or five real estate agents in the room.
However, if you say, “I specialize in helping distinguished home buyers upsize into their dream homes in Cherry Hills and Greenwood Village,” now you’ve differentiated yourself. When I start looking for my dream home next door to Peyton Manning in Cherry Hills Village, you’ll be the first real estate agent that comes to mind!
Does that mean you can’t help a first time homebuyer find a house in Littleton? No. You can certainly help them…if you have time.
Differentiation isn’t intended to limit what you can do, although it usually does. Its main purpose is to make you memorable…to make you stand out…to make you the white sock in the dark load.
Think about that next time you’re in a room with three of your competitors. If someone starts singing, “One of these things is not like the other. One of these things just doesn’t fit,” will YOU be the one they point out? Or will it be one of the other three?