It’s planting season. My usual part-time workload has temporarily doubled. My expertise is in flowering plants, perennials and annuals artfully overflowing their pots and landscapes drenched in color. This year, my vegetable gardening colleague brought new life into the world in the form of a daughter rather than an edible plant and so is out on maternity leave. Starting vegetables from seed and ensuring their safe passage from packet to seedling to soil has expanded my love of all things dirt life.
Have you ever seen a lettuce seed? Where does one find one on the head? Lettuce seeds resemble a tiny sliver of silver, radish seeds and are other-worldly, like mini asteroids. Here comes the part where I relate this to the title of this article.
After weeks of greenhouse tending it was time to get things into the ground. The end result of that for the plants is happiness, room to spread out, and real, not filtered, sun.
I am ecstatic if not sore and tired.
In fact, if I wasn’t me, I’d probably say “I’m passionate” about this alter-ego. We all know what passion leads to — starting a business is one response. And if I were going to launch a new business, let’s call it, Greg’s Gardenables, I’d need a few things, right?
- A beautiful website.
- I would have to think of a freebie, and
- start a blog
- I might even want to do webinars on the joy and pitfalls of starting vegetables from seed.
- That would mean Facebook ads to drive traffic, and on and on and on.
Whoa, wait just a minute, you passionate-preneur in the making. What sets you apart? How will you answer, “What make you the better choice than all the other gardeners in your neighborhood? You’re certainly not the cheapest.” (I never compete on price.)
Hmm, picture a brain scrambling for the right answers, then the sound of computer powering down. In all of that passion, I forgot to take time to learn what I do better or faster or with greater success than my competition.
Have you done that?
Having a clear answer to “what do you do?” is one part of the puzzle, and a very important one. But when it comes to setting yourself apart, can you?
Here are a few examples of how you’d do that.
Say you are a massage therapist. Clearly you can work on the whole body. What if you were an expert in sciatic pain relief or IT band release? You could build a tribe of athletes and others who suffer the frustrating pain that is hard to get rid of.
For a business coach, if your specialty is moving people from roller coaster cash flow to reliable income in 60 days or your money back, you’re not the average Joe coach. A guarantee is a differentiator.
As a newbie organic vegetable gardener, I would have little to set me apart in terms of what I’d done for clients, but I did get better germination rates with my seeds than average. That saves the client money in seeds and there’s more to eat.
Here are a few places to look for your point of difference:
- You save people time or money over other competitors
- Your offer comes with a crazy good guarantee
- You have an exclusive product
- You promise to get the work done in half the time
- The 5 years you spent working in the Costa Rican rain forest makes you the best guide for rain forest adventures.
- Your investment strategy has beat the S & P by 15% year over year since 2000
- We are an excellent SaaS product and we don’t require a long-term contract.
You don’t have to do something no one else can — though if you can, sell that — but you do have to have an advantage. And one you can support with client testimonials or case studies.
A quick review of the most important pieces of your marketing:
- a clear message that describes what you do, and
- knowing what sets you apart from the competition in ways the prospect can grab on to
Saying you are the best because you are successful or make a million bucks isn’t enough. Today’s customers, buyers, and clients are looking for an experience, and that begins in their minds. And the mind thinks in pictures and story, so paint the picture of you as unique in the sea of sameness, but do it with tangible concepts.
Passion is great, it’s a driver; but don’t forget to do the practical stuff, like figuring out why you are different. Think of this work like preparing soil for seedlings: do it once early on and you’ll eat better in the long run.