It sounds absurd. How could any established business be mistaken about their biggest selling point? Surely, they must have figured it out or they never would have stayed in business. Or so I once thought. But it is actually not at all uncommon that successful businesses are confused about their biggest selling point.

These companies may have founders who are very strong salespeople. Or they may have a product that was a case of “right place at the right time.” They likely do not even realize they are unclear about the value they offer because a great salesperson and good timing can obscure the problem.

Here are some of the ways I’ve seen healthcare organizations get their biggest selling point wrong.

Aiming at the Wrong Target

I remember one project where my client was an advocacy and research group for a rare genetic disorder. They were phenomenal at building community and doing fundraising. They initiated the biggest research studies in their disorder and they were the force behind the leading treatment centers.

Yet, despite all this, they thought their biggest selling point was their knowledge of this rare disorder. So they put all the information they could find about it on their website. Of course, since it was a very rare condition, there wasn’t a lot of information – so their site looked just like every other one-off fundraising page created by every family affected by the disorder.

So where was their mistake? Their mistake was in thinking they were primarily an information clearinghouse. I helped them realize that their real strength was in providing parents with actionable information about taking care of their child while also pushing for better research.

As a result, they shifted the focus of their website and outreach – and increased their impact.

Getting the Word Choice Wrong

Another project I worked on was with a consultant in the healthcare world. They helped physician practices grow by using a variety of online marketing techniques. They did tremendous work for their clients but they made it harder on themselves than they needed by focusing on the technical terms for their methodology.

It’s a rare physician who is excited about search engine optimization or blogging – but they are excited about helping their patients and growing their practice. What we needed was to find a way to link these two ideas – so we went to the source. I conducted voice-of-customer research to help us identify the best words and phrasing to use when communicating with physicians about marketing.

The change needed was a simple one: we focussed less on marketing jargon and more on terms related to “growing your practice.” Which made it easier for clients to understand what they offered.

Overlooking Your Strengths

I remember one client from early in my career who absolutely insisted there was no difference between what his company did and what his competitors did. Absolutely insisted. He provided a service, they provided the same service. To him, there was no reason why a given client would choose them over someone else.

The thing is, while he was absolutely convinced he didn’t have a unique selling point, he actually did. If you’re in business for awhile, especially if you’ve weathered hard times, you have something unique about what you offer. The trick is to find it.

It doesn’t have to be something flashy. Maybe you don’t have proprietary technology or the leading expert in the field on your team. Maybe all you have going for you is a needed service and excellent support. Believe me, that in and of itself is enough to make you shine.

Don’t just assume you know your biggest selling point.

Eventually every business hits a point where they have to work at it a bit harder. That’s when you need to know exactly what your biggest selling point is. So make sure you can clearly state what it is – and that your clients are in agreement.

Photo by Michal Matlon on Unsplash.