How do you build your brand and your sales success on substance, not spin?
What reaction do you get when you ask the ultimate core offer question about your company or your products?
What do you think prevents more people buying from you more often?
What do you do to keep your core offer fresh and relevant, all the time?
The ‘ultimate core offer’ question can reveal a valuable way to better market your products and services:-
The interior designer in the Business Bitesize report learnt that her potential clients had a problem with commissioning an interior designer for two reasons:
Home owners worry about interior designers imposing their views/ideas rather than helping them express their own ideas. The cost and time needed to use an interior designer is believed to be excessive
The interior designer then tested a ‘training offer’ that doubled her sales, you too can ask your clients and potential clients a core offer question.Try one of these:
What drives you nuts? What gets under your skin? What really riles you? What are you worried about?
Think about it. You may think that your customers don’t have any problems with buying your services or products but actually they do…everyone does. So start asking this type of question. Here are a few different purchasing scenarios that you might be familiar with. See what happens when you ask the core offer question:
Plumbing Core Offer Question:-
Will they turn up on time? Will they tidy up after themselves? Will they rip me off?
Find a plumber that allays these worries and you’ll stick with them. You’ll recommend them to your friends, family and colleagues too. When you find a plumber that reinforces these worries… you ditch them. You are likely to avoid recommending them. You may even say to your friends, family and colleagues – "avoid that plumber like the plague!"
Restaurant Core Offer Question:-
Having to wait ages for the food to arrive? What you had in mind to eat often isn’t available? The toilets aren’t clean? Lack of parking?
What could that local eatery do to address these frustrations and concerns? What could they do to make these frustrations and concerns disappear for their local prospective customers?
These comments suggest the core offer for this eatery should address:-
Staffing levels/training - offer a waiting time guarantee and deliver it! Menu availability – simplified menu with all dishes always available! Parking - Suggested parking places on the website and refund parking costs! Refurbishing the loos!
To win more regular, local customers and keep their existing ones the eatery must make a core offer promise and deliver the promise - every single time, without fail!
Printing Service Core Offer Question
Repeated amendments because of spelling mistakes? Poor communication on progress of job? Price uncertainty? Brief not adhered to?
What could the printers do to minimize these concerns:-
Invest in excellent proof reading services. Promise and deliver a commitment of communication guarantee with transparent, simple clear pricing. Implement a ‘listening to the client’ process internally that ensures all client brief details are captured and followed up
How can the printers then inform their existing and prospective clients of the new improved core offer? This is where the marketing sizzle comes in.
David J Taylor’s 2 Pillars of Marketing Common Sense
For example, people often talk about Apple being a "lifestyle" brand. But really, if you listen to Apple’s Chief Design Officer Jonathan Ive, the company is all about brilliant design of both hardware and the user interface. The "coolness" of the brand is created by the product.
Core offer buying challenge [1 hour]
Gather together your team and in groups of 2 or 3 people (stay in a single group if there are 4 people or less in your team) run through the four tasks below:-
i) Think of a service or product that your business purchases, and that you are not 100% happy with at the moment. Ask yourself the ‘what drives you nuts’ questions [allow 15 mins for this]:-
What's driving you nuts about this service or product?
What's really getting under your skin?
What really riles you when you are purchasing this product or service?
What worries are always in the back of your mind when you are purchasing the product or service?
ii) In your teams create a list of four or five frustrating, annoying or worry-making aspects of purchasing that particular service for you.
Come back together as an entire group and share and discuss your answers together [allow 15 mins for this]
iii) What in your view could that service provider do to eliminate the ‘driving you nuts’ aspects of using their service?
Brainstorm ideas and agree four actions the service provider could take to resolve the ’driving you nuts’ stuff? [take 15 mins for this]
iv) How could they convince you that their service wasn’t going to ‘drive you nuts’ any more, ever again?
Back in your groups choose an issue you would want resolved and identify what you would need to 'see' from the service provider that would make you feel comfortable again. What would they need to do to convince you that things were going to be different?
Each group should then present their findings and insights to the rest of the team.Now that you are in a ‘critical frame of mind’ about services and products try the exercise in section 4 to improve the core offer of your own business.
Even better, ask your clients and prospects and get your people to brainstorm solutions!!
The four steps to a powerful core offer.
a) Seek insight, look back at what made you successful or got you started in the first place. And then look at what is changing in the market place. What do you need to KEEP, UPDATE, LOSE
Ask your customers and other stakeholders what are their frustrations? What are their worries? What are their difficulties?
The answers to these ‘frustrations, worries and difficulties’ questions are your ‘UPDATE’ or ‘LOSE’
Ask your customers and other stakeholders why are they staying with you? Why do they recommend you? What are you known for?
The answers to these ‘staying, recommending and known-for’ questions are your ‘KEEPERS’. You can explore this more deeply using the ‘Searching For Brand Truth’ infographic in the appendices kindly shared with us by David J Taylor, author of ‘Never mind the sizzle…Where’s the sausage?’
Generate ideas, Using the insights above get together with your people and examine each and every one.
Rank the power and importance of your insights. Then brainstorm the most important ideas and how these ideas will help make your core offer more relevant and more distinctive (see David Taylor’s infographic in the Appendix). Use the following list as a guide to promote discussion:
Manufacturing – unique aspects of how the product is made
People – distinguishing features of front-line staff
Consistency – reliability of service
Sensory experience – when using product (smell, relaxation, comfort, mood)
Ingredients/contents - food or manufactured products
Form – distinguishing characteristics
Users – current or past users who could help define the product
History – when was the product/brand first created
Founders – principles and personality of brand founders
Examine the leading ideas and bring them to life. Test your ideas:-
Create ideas cards
Create a business case for each idea
Build prototypes for testing with customers
Share and discuss with customers and record their responses
Take action and clarify your PURPOSE (why you are in business), your PROMISE (what you offer to clients). Identify what’s distinctive about your product, service or business PROPERTIES (service style, slogans, colours, characters and music) – UPDATE but don’t completely change them as these are what consumers remember more than anything.