Customers make the heart of your business beat with their desire to choose products, services and experiences that meet their needs, fit their values, engage their emotions and respond to their desires. Your role is to transform prospects into customers and customers into fiercely loyal advocates. As your own marketer you have to be heard over the marketing noise that is everywhere, (TV, newspapers, on every street corner, now even at the movies). You then have to overcome the skepticism of the more sophisticated consumer.

Many of you have taken one of our “Personal Branding” workshops to learn more about standing out, creating interest so that people take action. It is important to understand that all of this starts with what you say about who you are, what you do, but most importantly what is the outcome you deliver that satisfies someone’s desire to buy.

I would like to suggest you start by asking yourself some questions that can flush out the things you need to know about your customer, and what your customer needs to know about you. If you have targeted a market, what is their challenge, issue or problem. The better prepared you are to answer that question the better prepared you will be to know what your customer needs to know about you.

What is the value of your product or service in terms of saving customers time and effort? Does what you offer add value by offering an enhancement – beauty, status, advancement or guarantees? Can you demonstrate that your product or service is not a cost but an investment? How about your competition, why do people buy from you rather than your competition? What makes you different? What do your customers tell each other about your product or service?

Amazon.com and eBay have capitalized on this by giving buyers a chance to comment and/or review what they purchased and in the case of eBay how well the seller fulfilled what he sold. You need to be able to tell the stories and quote the testimonials of happy customers so others can see how you are different.

Few products or services are unique, you make them unique by looking at your strengths to create your competitive edge. What strengths do you have that you can effectively capitalize on? When you have answers to the questions that apply to you, you must be able to deliver that information verbally and in all your written and hand out materials. Remember people want to know “what’s in it for them.” So what is the outcome and value you deliver; this is not the how, but the what, that will keep them coming back over and over again.

The Challenge: Review your marketing materials with these questions in mind.