July 2017 - Small business consultant, Kara Lambert is insightful and expert.

Monthly Archives: July 2017

Is your point of difference actually much of a selling point?

The other day I was following a tradesman’s van in traffic and across the back was “Call now for a free quote”. Now, just the day before I had a tradesman out for a quote and it was free and I wondered how often we use these words as points of difference or selling points and really there’s no point to them at all. Why? Because the customers just expect it as your cost of gaining business.

So it made me think and I asked my friends on Facebook, is offering a free quote an enticement anymore and if not, what is? Here’s what they said…

Most people expected a quote to be free, one said they had been charged for a quote, and another said that they are asked if the quotes are free. So there is still some need for businesses to say that the quotes are free, but it’s not enough to get someone in.

So what entices people to ask for a quote?

By and large, the response was that they wanted something more. They either wanted to receive a special price, an extra service, to learn something new. Essentially, they wanted an inducement to get you out to quote for their money.

Let’s face it, in the end it comes down to how badly do you want their money & what are you going to do differently to get it.

But then I wondered, is this just limited to the ‘free quote’ scenario? Are there other points of difference or selling points that aren’t really different?

I had a mini-coaching session the other day and the person said that they offered a ‘quality service’. That was their selling point, quality. I had to stop them there and tell them that as a customer, I expect them to offer a quality service. If I’m paying for a job, I expect it to be done correctly and to be of appropriate quality.

So ‘quality service’ is off the list! What other selling points are used that really aren’t points of difference?

  • Polite
  • Friendly
  • Honest
  • Reliable
  • Superior
  • Trustworthy

These are all basic (and commonly used) levels of service we expect as clients. So what are the options businesses have to stand out from the crowd and to be chosen from the pack?

It has to be said, but it depends. It depends on your industry and what is normal and what is expected.

Businesses wanting to beat their competitors need to know three things:

  • What is standard service in their industry
  • What their ideal client expects from their industry
  • What their ideal client expects but doesn’t receive from their industry

You may think that I am asking you to gaze into a crystal ball or pluck things out of the air. You can find out the answer to the first point either in explicit industry standards or just check out the websites/social media/advertising of your competitors, you’ll soon see the same words cropping up. You should already have the answer to the last two in your clients’ feedback/reviews/testimonials. If you don’t have any, then check out what is written about your competitors, you’ll see what customers did/n’t like there. Still stuck, ask your customers; put up a post on social media, send them an email, ask the next 10 you speak to or see, ask your friends (just as I did).

If you need a little extra to get you started, I’ve developed this cheatsheet to help you organise your answers .

So now what to do with these new points of difference or selling points?

Quite simply, you use them. You add the one the clients desire most to the ‘free quote’ line. You use it in your social media and other marketing. You add it to your email signature block. You start saying it when you speak to clients. It may feel odd at first, but everything does. I promise that after 21 days (how long it takes to change a habit), it will be normal. Put it on post-it notes so you remember. Make it a screensaver on your phone. Have it as a calendar notification to remind you. Prompt yourself to remember to use it.

Why should you change your point of difference or selling point?

Other than the fact that it should be different, this comes down to aligning your business aims and values to those of your ideal client. When your client feels heard or understood, they start to feel welcome and develop trust in your business (then like & know). You will be talking to their critical needs and its them you need to impress first so that you can show them that you are better than your competitors in meeting their needs.


Australian Consumer Social Media Use

In this analysis of the Sensis report into how Australians use the Internet & Social Media, I will be focusing on social media and how customers use social media for purchasing decisions. While it’s important to know when we are online to work out when we need to post on social media, it’s the behaviours which drive purchasing decisions which interest businesses. This post is to be read with the previous article and can be compared with the previous year.

When and where do Australians use Social Media?

92 % of Australians access social media at home. When we are at home, Australians are most likely to check their social media in the lounge room and then the bedroom. This is no great surprise when you look at when we are most likely to check social media.

Australians are most likely to check social media in the evening (71%), first thing in the morning (57%), and at lunch or in breaks (equally 47%). So it’s no great surprise that our lounge and bed rooms are our most popular location. This also matches the likelihood that we are using smartphones to access social media. (Note: the 65+ age group are most likely to use a laptop)

Below is the chart of when we check our social media by age and by decreasing popularity

18-29 30-39 40-49 50-64 65+
Evening Evening Evening Evening Evening
Breaks First thing First thing First thing First thing
First thing/Lunch Lunch Breaks Lunch Lunch


What you can see in this table is a good indication of when you should be posting on social media depending on your target age group. Unfortunately, may businesses are still posting outside of these hours because they do not schedule their posts.

Why Australians use Social Media for purchase decisions

Firstly, only 18% of Australians use social media to follow brands and of them it’s most likely to be the 30-39 & 50-64 year olds who do. Now that does not mean you don’t need social media; that means that you shouldn’t worry about low follower numbers. You see, 16% use social media to access brand promotions (again the favoured by 30-39 year olds) and 16% to research purchases (most likely for those 65+). There’s a good chance that they are seeing what you post without even liking or following your social media profile. Here’s proof…

52% of people who researched a product on social media went on to purchasing one of the products they saw

61% of those purchases were made online

What can you do to influence the purchases made using Social Media?

Use reviews

61 % of Australians will read between 1 and 5 reviews before making a purchase. Remember that this is across all social media and there are many ways to post reviews. While you can use the review function on social media profiles, I actively encourage business owners to regularly post reviews on their social media to push the good news out to followers. By doing this you control the design of the review and you can organise them how you choose.

There has been an increase in people likely to change their opinion (to be positive) if you respond to a negative review. This means that you should keep negative reviews on your social media and respond to them.

I have previously written about the psychology of reviews, it contains information on why people give reviews and the aspects needed to have a convincing review.

What to post

This year, Australians said that it was more important (than previously reported) that businesses interact positively on social media, update their content regularly (post regularly), and post engaging and relevant information. Here’s the key to all of this, it’s what your customer thinks is engaging & relevant – not you. So it’s crucial that business owners understand their ideal customers.

Here’s the thing about engaging and relevant content – not having engaging and relevant content is the biggest reason why people unfollow social media accounts. It’s not ads. In fact, Australians, while not necessarily happy to see them they are not turned off by them nor will they ignore them. So, consider ads as part of your social media, they’re not going to push clients away.

If you are considering ads, you might want to consider the following things people want from brands on social media:
– 54% want discounts
– 48% want giveaways
– 30% want information, and
– 29% want nothing at all.

So before you think that your ad has to offer a great discount, consider that nearly 1/3 of your fans actually don’t want anything from you at all.

I have one more thing for you to consider when using social media for your business and what Australians like when online. All Australians are excited when our posts receive more likes than usual. While this statistic is higher for those <39, there was some degree of agreeance across the ages. So, give some positive feedback to posts and comments on your social media account, even if it’s a like. If you want to know why this works, read my post on what happens to our brain when we use social media.

So all in all, it seems that Australians are increasing their use of social media and while some want special offers a good proportion don’t want anything at all other than: good content, they like to be liked and if they research online they are more likely to buy online. It still points to the need for brands to have some sort of regular social media presence where the client is put first.