stereotype eggs

“All home builders are the same”
& other stereotype declarations.

That was the phrase a friend of mine uttered when I asked her which company she chose to build her new home. After exploring her options in the market, it was the lot location that became the deciding factor in her final decision. The stereotype was solidified in her mind. I’m betting the selected company had no idea why they were chosen. They may even have assumed it was their superior product that won them the sale. However, this was a clear cut case of “right place, right time.”

Home builders are not the only ones subject to stereotype and subsequently, being painted with the same brush. I’ve heard the same conclusions drawn about accountants, realtors, plumbers, graphic designers, lawyers, dentists…the list goes on and on. Who is at fault here? Is it the public for making broad sweeping declarations? Have they made generalizations due to lack of experience with a certain trade or service? Or has the profession in question failed to make their case? I believe it’s the latter.

Going along leads to getting lost.

The majority of industry members adhere to a predetermined way of doing things. “This is what everyone else does so I must do it this way too.” I doubt that anyone started a business with the dream of looking or behaving like everyone else. In fact, a lot of businesses are started because the new owner believes they can improve on what they’ve experienced in a particular industry. So what happened to alter their course?

Maybe it was the real cost of doing business, where unforeseen expenses caused a scaling back in execution. Maybe it was well-meaning advice that persuaded them to play it safe…at least to start. More than likely it was a form of performance anxiety. A last minute crisis of confidence that screamed, “Pull back! You’ll make a fool of yourself!”

Being part of the status quo leaves you having to do more marketing rather than less. You’ve built barriers of complacency that need to be knocked down. Some way, some how, you need to get noticed so that you get chosen. Potential clients need a concrete reason why you are the best choice and it’s your job to tell them.

Death to the stereotype. Be bold.

Do you stand for something? Are you distinguishable from the competition? What makes you a unique and formidable opponent in the marketplace? These are the things you need to be promoting to elevate your status in the minds of your prospects. It’s about having a unique selling proposition (USP), around which your brand is formed. A USP will give you purpose and direction. It will bring clarity to your decision-making and strength to your voice.

If you feel like you’ve been playing it safe, or that your message is lost amongst the status quo, do yourself a favour and dig out that buried treasure. Determine what makes your business unique and begin to showcase it to your market. Then watch your customers show up on purpose.

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