Let’s look at the facts.
- There is more choice than ever before to treat a hearing loss
- It’s never been easier for somebody to access choice (via the internet)
- And the data suggests that people are fussier than ever before.
So, with this in mind, the question is, why should somebody choose to work with you over all the other options available to them?
What is coming to your mind right now as the answer to that question?
** purposeful pause **
Note that you cannot say that the reason that they should choose you is because you’re professional, you’re nice people, you’re experienced, or you’re highly skilled – because these are givens that people simply expect, and it’s what all of your competitors are saying.
The truth is, it’s not a simple question to answer, yet it’s the absolute core of your entire business and marketing strategy.
In this article, I’m going to share how you can discover your “tip of arrow”/value proposition and share a framework that you can follow to articulate what makes you unique as concisely as possible.
But first, let’s explore why this is important.
What’s the Risk of Not Knowing Your “Tip of Arrow”?
If we jump back 10 or 20 years, running a private practice was much simpler.
People made their decision to visit you based on the fact that you were local. This meant that they trusted you, and they were happy to choose you.
- There were less options available to them (consisting of a few clinics at the most).
- They had to use directories or ask friends/family for recommendations to discover you.
- They turned up highly uneducated on what purchasing hearing aids looked like/what is involved in the process.
Ahhh, the good old days.
They turned up to you because you were local, they saw you as the trusted expert, and they followed your recommendations.
The problem is, it’s now entirely different.
Patients are heavily researching their options, becoming highly educated on how hearing healthcare works, and being very picky about who they choose to visit.
to choose you in advance or explain what makes you different, then there’s no good reason why a patient would decide that you’re a better solution than all the other options available to them.
It’s not an easy job, but understanding who you are and what makes you unique is one of the most important things that you can do for your marketing. Once you understand this and can articulate it, it then becomes key messaging on your website to help people to quickly understand if you’re the right choice for them.
The Four Different Types of Value Propositions
There are only four different types of value propositions that you can build your business around, and nearly every great company that you know has purposefully chosen one of these value propositions.
The four are:
Let me walk you through each one with some real life examples of external companies (outside of the world of hearing care) as well as private practices that have adopted each of these four value propositions.
#1 – Convenience
If you had to think of a business that has built their entire value proposition around convenience, then the first business that jumps to many people’s minds is Amazon.
Their entire business is built on making it as easy as possible to transact with them.
- One click purchases
- All of your card details easily saved
- All of your possible addresses in one place
- Recommended purchases that are scarily accurate
- A slick returns policy which causes zero headaches
- The same login for all suite of products
They’re the masters of making the consumer’s life as easy as possible.
In the world of hearing care, there are some private practices that have similarly built their value propositions around convenience.
One stand out clinic is Hearing at Home which is based in Virginia.
They created a mobile hearing care offering that means that patients can access advanced hearing care from the comfort of their home, their place of work, or even in the van itself.
Their messaging questions why somebody would want to sit in traffic, sit in a waiting room, and work around an audiologist’s busy schedule when they can have somebody visit them and work around theirs.
#2 – Purpose
Can you think of a company that has built their value proposition around their purpose?
I.E. – they have a greater meaning and by doing business with them, you’re contributing to something much larger.
A stand out one in my mind is Tom Shoes.
They have a “buy one, give one,” which means that if you buy a pair of shoes through them, then they’ll gift a pair of shoes to somebody in a Third World country.
It has a bigger meaning, it ensures you feel good by choosing them, and if you ever have a knife-edge decision between choosing them or a competitor, then you’re more inclined to choose them.
In the world of hearing care, a stand out example is Pacific Hearing Service in Silicon Valley. They have a partner brand that is a core part of their mission called Pacific Hearing Connection.
This makes them unique, as “giving back” is one of the primary parts of their value proposition.
They are loud and proud about the fact that they care not only about their private pay patients, but they also care about the “working poor” in their local area, with an obligation to help them through a reduced fee, sliding scale basis to make hearing healthcare affordable.
They have a strong mission toward being able to do this, and they are bringing this to the very front of their story.
There is artwork on the walls from the countries where they do their mission trips. There are little plaques alongside those artworks that talk about the artists in that community that painted them. They make it very much a joined-up part of this story.
The result of which is when other people care about the same things that Pacific Hearing Service cares about, then it becomes a very good reason that people step in and work with them on their private pay part of their business.
#3 – Pricing
There are many companies that use pricing as the key reason why you should choose to work with them.
A standout one is Costco.
Their promise is that you can join a private club where you’re able to access trade prices, and they live and breathe it. They have their prices big, they hand out samples to make you feel part of a special club, and they make you carry around your membership card.
Even though they’re not the cheapest in many aspects, they cleverly use this value proposition to create their point of difference.
Although my personal belief is that building a value proposition around pricing in hearing healthcare is challenging and potentially a fight to the bottom, there have been some very clever private practices that have done exactly that in an innovative way.
One stand out clinic is Flex Audiology who has an unbundled approach that leads with the messaging of making the patient feel smart for choosing them and not paying for things that they don’t need through the traditional approach.
From transparent pricing on their website, patients sharing how they saved money through working with Flex, and a message that encourages people to avoid overpaying by choosing them, they create a super strong point of difference that has patients feeling smart, capable, and good for choosing to partner with them.
#4 – Experience
This is probably one of the most powerful value propositions that allows you to charge premium by delivering experience.
Stand out examples are things like international airlines or premium car brands.
But one practical example is Starbucks.
They have built a story that tells you to bring friends, stay for a while, enjoy the comfy chairs, use the power points, and make their coffee shop your home for a few hours.
Compared to other options in this populated market, they deliver an experience that makes you want to go back time and time again and pay more.
A clinic that has took experience and put it at the forefront of their value proposition is Cornerstone Audiology in Lubbock, TX.
If you look at their messaging, their story, and the way that their marketing is structured, it never talks about hearing aids or even what they do – it talks about how well they care for their patients.
From the little things like having cookies and coffee ready as soon as new patients walk through the door to having patient appreciation events where they hire bands, put on food, and have a real celebration.
Patients choose Cornerstone Audiology because they want the experience, which means that things like pricing are the last thing on the patients’ list of priorities.
How to Define Your “Tip of Arrow” [Action Plan]
We’ve looked at WHY a “tip of arrow” is important and WHAT the four different value propositions look like … but let’s now look at the HOW.
I’m going to share a framework that you can follow to understand what your “tip of arrow” is and how you can clearly articulate it to prove your point of difference.
But let me be clear. Defining what makes you unique and articulating it in a powerful way is not an easy job.
It is often the first thing we do with our Inner Circle members, and it comes after consultation, internal meetings, and lots of brain power. But my aim here is to break down the steps of how you define this and give you a model to work with.
There are two ways to do this:
- The quick way – doing this is better than nothing
- The slow way – the real way to do it but requires time/effort
I’ll take you through each.
The Quick Way
You know your business better than anybody, so you may know what it is that makes you unique.
Get out a notepad and write down what you believe your super power is.
What is the one thing that you’re confident that you do better than anybody else locally?
It may instantly ping in your mind or it may require some thought, but here’s some examples that some of our Inner Circle members have leaned toward as their “tip of arrow.”
- They deliver audiological best practices (whereas others do not).
- They’re the most experienced locally.
- They deliver VIP treatment to every patient (with proof).
- They have a track record for caring for tens of thousands of people.
- They are the longest standing clinic in your community.
- They have the best priced hearing technology.
- They have an unbundled approach (which saves the patient money).
- They’re tinnitus experts.
- They have a specialism (like pediatrics).
- They have the largest team of hearing experts locally.
You may have chosen something of your own, or one of the examples above may have resonated with you.
Whatever you have chosen, underline it, circle it, and skip the “Slow Way” section.
The Slow Way
The truth is, what you believe makes you unique may be very different to what your team and your patients believe is your point of difference.
That’s why you may instead want to ask the opinions of others and turn this into a collaborative effort that brings your team and/or patients along for the journey.
1. Task your team with creating a list of the things that they believe make your clinic unique. Then at your next team get-together, collate everybody’s list and identify the most popular answers.Once you have these, work with your team to decide which ones are the top 2/3 points.
2. Send a survey to your patients that asks them what they believe makes you unique and how they would describe you to a friend.Give them the freedom to answer in their own words rather than preselected answers, and review what answers come back.You may be surprised to what they believe makes you unique!
Whether you decide to go with one of the above approaches or do both – it will give you a list of multiple opinions where some key feedback should stand out.
This is the magic.
This is what makes you unique, straight from the horse’s mouth.
Building Your “Tip of Arrow” into a Framework
With a list of key things that make you unique, you’re then looking to create a statement and a sub-statement.
- Statement – this is a short and concise explanation of what makes you unique and why somebody should choose you.
- Sub-Statement – this is either further proving the point made in your statement or highlighting some complimentary additional benefits of working with you.
The purpose of these is to be concise and articulate.
That’s why, to help, we’ve created some fill in the blank frameworks that you can use to develop your statement and sub-statement.
The [Insert Strength] in [Area] Since [Year]
The Most Experienced Hearing Care Experts in Gotham City Since 1994
[Area]’s [Insert Strength]
Gotham City’s Tinnitus Experts
Delivering [Insert Strength] in [Area] Since [Year]
Delivering The Best Priced Hearing Care Solutions in Gotham City Since 2004
The Hearing Experts That [Area] Has Trusted for [XX] Years
The Hearing Experts That Gotham City Has Trusted for 14 Years
Trusted by [List of People That Trust You]
Trusted by Thousands of Patients, Local Doctors, Medical Professionals, and Local Organizations
Recognized as [Area]’s [Insert Strength] by [XX] People
Recognized as Gotham City’s Tinnitus Experts by Over 3,000 People
Hopefully, the above frameworks should help you to flow your “tip of arrow” into the blanks and produce something that is powerful.
But please know that this is a framework to help and give you an outline to follow – you have the flexibility to play and create something that stands out and shows why somebody should choose you.
Put your creative cap on and get to work!
What to Do With Your “Tip of Arrow”
Once you have defined your “tip of arrow,” you now have something that articulates what makes you unique in a powerful and concise way.
This is your pixie dust!
It should play a key role in all of the assets of your business.
- Make your statement your heading on your website homepage and your sub-statement your sub-headline on your website.
- It should be in the banner on your social media channels so that people can quickly understand who you are and what makes you unique.
- It should be on your brochures/print literature to ensure that people understand “Why you?”
- It should be memorized by your team and everybody should live and breathe your unique edge.
Share it with your marketing company, or in-house marketing person, and have them drive this forward to update your messaging across the board.
This requires work, but it’s the most impactful high pay-off marketing work that you can do.
Co-Founder & Marketing Director
Orange & Gray