One of the problems of selling in business is to make your product or service sufficiently distinctive from other offerings in the same field. We sometimes use the phrase – USP – unique selling proposition. Everyone who has something to sell spends or ought to spend time thinking about this issue.
The best way I can conceptualize this process is through simile – by suggesting my product is like something completely different in another field, but beautifully, the competitor product is also like something else in that field too. And the contrast is telling – and easily understandable in that field.
To illustrate what I mean let me share with you my recent thinking about our product, Motivational Maps. In one sense our biggest competition to this ‘new’ product is other diagnostic tools, specifically Psychometric and Personality tests. Our product provides a language to describe and metric to measure the motivations of people at work. To date our biggest contrast between what it does and what Personality tools do is this: you don’t get out of bed on a Monday morning because of your personality; you get out of bed because of your motivators.
This is fine so far as it goes, but that is not far enough to get enlightened people to want to use our Maps.
Recently, a simile occurred to me which I think is really powerful and I would welcome feedback on what you think of it. Basically, conventional personality tests are like allopathic or traditional Western medicine. Motivational Maps are like Chinese medicine – they outline the energy system of the body and work to repair it. Allopathic medicine considers the behavior, the structure of the body, and the possible pill to be taken to remove bad symptoms. It expects energy to increase as a result of increasing wellness; however, energy is not its primary concern or even its specialism, for in truth it understands little about it.
The Chinese system on the other hand makes the study of the meridian system of energy core to everything, and everything depends on the flow of energy if health is to be maintained. And in this way there is a parallel with what our Maps do: we map people energy, team energy and organizational energies and how they flow, support or contradict each other. In this way, bizarrely, huge issues of strategy and overall health emerge from what appears to be a limited field.
Now of course the wise thing is to know both – they are complementary – and both can be effective in an organizational setting. But for day to day maintenance and small repairs – Chinese medicine beats Western allopathy hands down, every time!