In last week’s post I discussed the recent (and ongoing) growth in the temporary staffing industry, pointing out that although many experts call it a trend, I’m convinced it’s a permanent shift with long-term consequences, especially regarding the number of participants in this arena. Are you prepared for the new competition that will soon be flooding this increasingly lucrative market?
Face it, your staffing company doesn’t differ much from your competitors. You may have higher-quality customer service, but they may have lower pricing. You may offer longer guarantees, but they may have better people. Every company shines in one aspect or another, and every company has its shortcomings. So how do you differentiate your firm from the competition?
The answer lies in your UVP (“unique value proposition”). Some people think that a UVP describes what a company does and what sort of value it can bring to its customers. That perception is only partly correct, because although a UVP does describe a company’s products or services, it includes much more information than that. A UVP clearly details your organization’s unique contribution to its market, particularly in comparison to its competitors.
An effective UVP absolutely must meet the following three criteria:
1. It must be important to your prospect.
In other words, understand what your prospect wants. There’s no hard-and-fast rule about what all clients want in any industry. Some surveys (such as this one), for example, indicate that buyers want quality above all. I’m certain, however, that there are also buyers who instead prioritize speed of placement (say, an organization that suddenly finds itself short-handed and needs employees right now) or price (as, for example, a company that’s just getting off the ground and doesn’t have much capital to invest in staffing).
I’ve written before about how my failure to understand what my buyer wanted nearly resulted in disaster. (Fortunately, the buyer gave me a chance to fix the situation, and we enjoyed a very successful and productive business relationship moving forward.) If you don’t want to find yourself in that same boat, do your research and figure out what your prospect is looking for—then make sure your UVP states that you deliver on this.
2. It must be unique to your company.
Before you decide to tout quality as your UVP, keep in mind that everyone in your market does skill-set testing and background checks. Your prospects already expect you (and all of your competitors) to perform these services. Instead of listing the same practices everyone else does, identify the elements that are truly unique to your company.
When I worked in the staffing industry, for example, my company had a three-step interview process that involved three different team members over three separate days. In our regional market (the Philadelphia area), my company was the only one that put its candidates through such a rigorous evaluation. The company’s UVP included this three-step interview process, which yielded higher-caliber placements. Unique to my firm, this practice was a selling point that made us stand out among our competition.
3. It must be defendable.
If you can’t back up your UVP with concrete evidence, you’re probably better off not having one at all. Any claim you make in your UVP must be supported by your actions—and the results they produce. If you fail to “walk the talk,” your UVP will be ineffective and unconvincing—and you may undermine your own credibility.
A company with a clear UVP that’s well communicated to its current and potential clients is a company that is remembered when those clients are in the market for its services or products. Any staffing firm that wants to be top of mind in its market needs to consider its market, its competition, and its audience when developing a UVP, and then work hard to incorporate that UVP into all its branding efforts.