A couple of months ago I delivered a keynote to the Boy Scouts of America, at their annual Licensees Conference. Apparently they found it an eye-opener as I was just asked to recap the speech for their upcoming newsletter. Licensees produce all the branded BSA merchandise for scouts and scouting events across America.

My “Find Your Lettuce” keynote was a fun 5-part formula to create value for customers to differentiate from competitors in ways that are extremely difficult to copy.  The analogy “Find Your Lettuce” comes from the fact that we all happily pay more for the pre-washed, bagged assorted lettuce, than a head of iceberg lettuce… want to find out WHY people purchase in this way, and HOW you can leverage it for success in your company?

Step 1 is: saving your customer’s time. Time is our most precious commodity these days… how can you “give” more time to your customers? Let’s take bagged lettuce for example: it’s a lot faster to eat dried, washed lettuce than it is to wash and dry your lettuce. Think… what can you do to save your customer’s time?

Step 2 is: save OR make your customers money. Find out what they’ll pay more for, and why, and serve them that – they won’t be angry you’re charging more, instead they’ll be ecstatic that they are getting exactly what they want. For example, if you sell a bag of assorted lettuce, even though it’s probably 3 times more expensive than buying 3-4 different heads of lettuce, you don’t have to worry about having 3 or 4 partly-eaten heads of lettuce going bad in your fridge and get thrown out… You’re essentially saving/making your customer money!

Step 3 of the lettuce formula is, solve a real problem. Yes, you’ve recognized that your customers are happy buying bags of lettuce that have a variety of different leaves, but the real problem that the lettuce solves is in the packaging… because it keeps the lettuce fresher, longer. (hey! also a money-saver…). So.. for YOUR “lettuce” you need to think about what the real problem it is that you’re solving and focus on that.

Step 4Create a feel good. All customer experiences can essentially be categorized as “bad,” “bland,” or “good.” This is important to recognize, as many experiences fall into the bland, bad… and sometimes even nightmare categories! Whereas, if you create a “feel good” experience, people will usually create GREAT word of mouth! I highly recommend that you put yourself in your customer’s shoes, and see what they’re really experiencing. Because to be the best, you want to consistently create “feel good” experiences.

Step 5 when finding your “lettuce,” is providing peace of mind. When people buy products, they usually have a lot of different thoughts going through their minds, such as: “Will I like it?” “Will it be right?” “Will it be complete?” “Did I make a good choice?” etc… So, your way to differentiate from your competitors is to do everything you can to give your customers peace of mind. Create a sense of confidence and let them know you’ve got their back. When they feel this way – you’ll see them coming back time and time again.

Now that you’ve got the 5 parts to the killer formula… how can you make it work for your company?

Here’s what I suggest: brainstorm how each of the 5 parts of the formula can be applied to YOUR company, share them with your team, and start to create a great big salad for your customers.

Then, tell me the results you had! Because I’m sure they will be positive.

#1 Bestselling Author, International Speaker, and Accelerator Anne C. Graham is on a mission to help 5 million business leaders and their teams double their profit per employee – or more – in less than one year, in less time per week than they’re spending on email per day. Her new book Profit in Plain Sight includes the 5-step proactive P.R.O.F.I+T Plan to do it.  Connect with Anne on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.