Early last Tuesday morning, I had the deep misfortune of hearing a male member of the Trump dynasty on the BBC radio news. This individual was busy whining about, denying and dodging the various accusations of the day, by declaring that his actions were entirely appropriate with what was "a very unique Presidential campaign." That's it: the (oddly satisfying) final straw. Now I have a legitimate grammatical reason to despise the idiot.
It's reached epic proportions even by my standards, to the point where – as mentioned in a previous blog – even my adored Captain Jean-Luc Picard gave me cause to grind my teeth.
What does the word unique mean?
Our friends at Oxford English Living Dictionaries say: being the only one of its kind; unlike anything else.
Let's put this into perspective. A snowflake is unique. Your fingerprints are unique. The patterns of the clouds in the sky at this precise moment are (probably) unique. The beautiful markings of every tiger are (to the best of our knowledge) unique.
I think you'll agree that these are science and nature at their finest.
Therefore, with these in mind, can you honestly say, for example, that what makes you unique is that you enjoy working closely with your clients? Seriously, I've heard this from the mouths of literally dozens of business people. Joking apart, would any SME survive if they didn't enjoy working closely with their clients?
Nor can you say that what you offer is somewhat unique, fairly unique, quite unique or very unique. Well, I mean, you can say that, but you're just making yourself sound silly.
Your USPs don't exist
Quite possibly, there are hundreds – if not thousands – of people who do the same job as you. That's okay though. The world's a pretty choc-a-bloc place, and you'd be completely overwhelmed if you were, perhaps, the only web developer in Auckland.
Considering this, how do you honestly think your business has any USPs? There would have to be truly exceptional circumstances for not one single other organisation in your sector to have some crossover with you in terms of experience or offerings.
Your business may be unusual or extraordinary or even have an exclusive partnership for your geographical location, but it still isn't unique.
If you do have points of difference, they aren't what you think they are
What is undeniable is that we are all individuals. In an increasingly digital world, I would argue that the human side of doing business has never been more important. To be able to deal with one reliable and agreeable person who picks up the phone and who delivers your project on time, sounds positively blissful.
And that, dear reader, is the crux of the matter. Because whilst there are numerous people offering the same service in a similar way, there's only one of you – and your clients choose to do business with you, time and time again.
Why do they do that?
Get the right person to ask the appropriate questions of your trusted customers and all should become clear. The insights they offer about what it's like to do business with you and why they prefer you over all others should give you your true points of difference – as seen through your customers' eyes.
These benefits, the ones you never realised you offered, are what actually set you apart from the so-called competition, and are therefore potentially very powerful marketing tools, especially when presented in the form of case studies or video testimonials.
They may also give you a wonderful boost in self-confidence and motivation because, even though your business isn't unique, you'll realise that your clients value you for exactly who you are.
1st August 2017