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Today I want to talk about being unique.
Being unique is really important, because if you’re not unique, you are a commodity. Uniqueness allows you to stand out from the crowd rather than disappearing among the rest. If you are not able to stand out from everyone around you, then there is pressure on your rates, you don’t win as often, and things can become very difficult.
Becoming unique is all about focusing on a specific issue or solution that you are capable of providing to your clients.
It can difficult to be unique, especially if you are part of a massive organization. This is because the buyer or the client will be comparing your organization to others. Generally, as organizations get bigger, they get more similar. It makes it harder to distinguish your organization from another organization.
How you’re really going to be unique is if you focus on the specific type of work, the specific problem you’re trying to solve for a client, and you figure out three reasons why you’re uniquely qualified to help them. You want to be able to differentiate yourself by presenting three ways you and your services or products will be most valuable to them. These reasons do not need to be long or complex to be memorable for your clients, as shown through the research of several experts. Instead, specifically focusing on three key concepts is the most important thing when you are trying to be memorable. Here’s the research behind why this works best.
According to the research by Jeff Rouder, people remember concepts best when they are presented in threes.
Many people believe that you can best remember things in sevens. That ‘seven things’ research, however, applies to numbers. When we came up with our original phone numbering system, before the addition of area codes, the researchers found that people could remember about seven numbers the best. So they capped the phone numbers at seven.
However, that’s a very different thing than concepts. For concepts, people tend to remember things in threes. Rouder’s research backs this up.
Even more important is the research done by Dr. Suzanne Shu. Dr. Shu found that when we are talking about ourselves, people believe things in threes more often than they believe things in any other tested number grouping.
When we’re talking about ourselves, people believe in threes more often than they believe in one, two, four, or more things. Dr. Shu and her team tested all the way to 10 things. What they tested were product claims to say, “When we say we’re great at X things”, and if that X was one, two, four, five, six, or ten, it was perceived as being less believable than three things. Three is the height of believability when we’re talking about ourselves.
Therefore, if you can boil things down to three simple reasons of why you are uniquely capable of doing that specific type of work for your client, it’ll be more believable and it’ll be more memorable.
So far, we have only really talked theoretically about positioning yourself uniquely for clients. Here is a concrete example that was shared with us that might help this concept come alive for you. One of our clients we worked with came up with three Rs for their three things.
Number one was Reliability. Their team was filled with the best experts in this particular field. No other company their client spoke to would be able to rival their expertise and reliability. They were reliable in the way that they could surefootedly guide the process and the project every step of the way.
The second thing was Relationship. They had been working with the client on some similar things, so both companies already knew each other’s cultures well enough. There was a foundation of faith already. They could say that they would know the nuances of leading this project with this client specifically and be able to pick up on all the little idiosyncrasies of what it is like to do work there.
The third was Risk. They were willing to withhold 20% of their fees to make sure the project went well. That is a bold statement. They said, “We know we can do this and we know we can do it in your culture. We’re willing to withhold some of our fees until the end, and based on a questionnaire you can fill out to say how great we did, then we’ll either give you the fees back, or we’ll keep the fees for ourselves.”
That was fantastic. These three things made a statement about the quality of their work, even adding alliteration to make it even more memorable for their clients.
This is the kind of example I believe really helps bring the concept to life. We hope it did that. Most importantly, we hope you take away from this to try packaging how you are unique in threes. Talking about yourself in threes makes you more memorable, more believable, and will succinctly tell how your company, among all the competition, is the most unique. At the end of the day, it will help you help your clients succeed.