For knowledge-rich service businesses, such as consultancies, agencies and training companies, it’s all too easy to fall into the “me too” trap when communicating your business to prospective clients.
With this in mind, let’s look at finding your UST (that’s your Unique Special Talents).
The simple way to think of your UST is “the things that you do better than anyone else”.
But how do you find out what they are?
Think about your current role, past jobs and your experiences outside of work. Write them down, as if you were creating a list of competences for a job.
Now, put them into a chart (see example above) where you list each competency in the following order:
1) Outstanding – put these things in the middle of the chart. These are tasks that are you rated excellent at. Typically, they will be things that people have always asked you for help with. Or where people will comment “how do you do that?” Crucially, they will be tasks that you find effortless to complete and that leave you energised when you do them. These are your UST’s!
2) Competent – in the next circle out from the centre put the things that you are competent at. These are normally things that you can do “as well as” others and may be things that make up a large part of your current or past work experience. But they’re not the tasks that you jump out of bed for and, importantly, you can’t see yourself doing them forever.
3) Incompetent – finally, in the outer circle, put the tasks that you simply cannot do. These are the things you hate doing and that will drain your energy if you have to do them.
Now, looking at your own chart, what jumps out at you from the centre? How many of your UST’s are you communicating with potential clients?
When doing this exercise it’s likely that your business or service offering will include many items from your “competent” circle and (hopefully) not many from your “incompetent” circle (if there are, you should be getting others to complete those tasks or even consider re-shaping the proposition that you offer).
The point is, however, that it’s your UST’s that make the difference to your clients.
So for example, let’s say that you’re a training consultant and you are competent in many of the tasks needed to create and deliver a course. But your key UST is your ability to really engage senior-level participants. This is what gives you your buzz and is where you get your best feedback.
If your marketing materials are just a “me too” list of your competences and fail to communicate your unique special talent then, at best, you’ll win clients that you can service “as well as” your competitors.
But, what if you were really able to stand out from the crowd with clear positioning around your UST?
Do you think that it’s possible the clients you attract with this strategy will be more successful?
Isn’t it more likely that you’ll deliver an outstanding experience which you can build on through future work and recommendations?
Of course it is!
Invest some time finding your UST’s and make sure that you communicate them consistently across all your marketing efforts, whether it’s your website, brochures or LinkedIn profile.
After all, life’s too short to settle for “as well as”.