So you are networking without a USP, and……

This time last week, I started up a new mentoring contract with a small family manufacturing enterprise. The owner has a decade of experience, knows what he wants to do next, but is majorly lacking in sales. How can I help?

“So what do you do,” I asked. And his response can best be described as a confused silence. When I pushed for a reason why people should buy from him as opposed to anyone else, I realised that I was causing some real anguish.

A few days later, I was reminded about this episode at the latest meeting of the Jerusalem Business Networking Forum. Over 70 people gathered together for a frantic 2 hours of speed networking. To clarify, the participants were given two minutes to speak to each other / swop business cards and then to move on to the next person.

For some in the room, this was a natural act. For others, the first few dialogues were very difficult. How could they get across a simple message about who they are, what they are trying to do and what help they require?

This is where the USP phrase comes in. As Chris Markham describes in an excellent and clear summary:

A unique selling point is a unique aspect or unique combination of aspects of your business that appeals directly to your potential market………..Without a unique selling point (or proposition) your business is terminally ill.

Obvious? Maybe. but then you have to create that platform, which is a process in itself. And worse, you have make sure that it matches your vision for your business.

This is not just more 21st century newsspeak, clever marketing terminology that has no real meaning. When we look around ourselves at any successful operation – local retail outlet or large corporation – what drives is a comprehensive knowledge of what they have to offer.

Going back to the JBNF event: By way of follow up, several people have reported that the networking has led to clear commercial opportunities for them. And if there is a common link to these successful members, it is probably that they have a defined direction for their businesses.

Something there for our small family manufacturing business to consider.

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