Marketing, Messaging, Sales

Most companies know what their unique selling proposition is, but a dominant selling idea (DSI) is a stronger version of the concept – a unifying, energizing, focusing, trust-building, clutter-removing, lean-value-creating notion. It’s a motivating difference at the moment of the purchase decision that communicates our #1 position in a “desirable specialty” that’s important to our target customers.Unless we’re able to define our DSI, we won’t be able to attach it to our brand; thereby fusing our name to a #1 specialty in the customer’s mind.

First, we must articulate our clear, ownable specialty. To view our company as #1 at something, customers must first relate us to a specialty category, even if we have to invent it! The idea isn’t just to identify our broad category, but to define a specialty in which we are (or can be) #1. We start by identifying all of the sub-specialties in our niche (e.g., quickest, best value, most advanced, best quality, most energy efficient) and their possible combinations (e.g., advanced and durable). Ideally, an effective DSI will possess five selling attributes: superlative, important, believable, memorable, and tangible. When combining the five attributes into a succinct DSI, we create a dynamic, memorable selling idea that we can connect with our name.

As leaders of companies, we must understand our DSI, and how to clearly communicate it to others. Not only do we set the example; we have the opportunity to invite our teams into the process. Regardless of how long our companies have been operating, and what our revenues look like, it’s important to take time with our key leaders and work on our DSI. For some of us, that may mean documenting one for the first time, while others of us may benefit from refreshing the DSI with our teams. Either way, when our organizations have further clarity on why we are different than the competition and how to communicate that distinction, our companies are more aligned for growth.

To see examples of recognizable DSIs and a template to develop your own, download this free DSI workshop tool.