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by | In the Magazine, Terri Levine | 0 comments

Uncovering your Core Unique Positioning Statement (CUPS) is the first and most essential marketing project you will complete to grow your coaching business. It’s the very foundation for your successful marketing plans. Before you can do this, it’s important that you have an in-depth understanding of this very crucial concept.

Let’s begin by exploring your passion.

Answer these questions in great detail:

  • Why did you get into business?
  • What passion drives you today to stay in business and keep trying to grow your business?

Remembering this passion and drive will help you uncover your CUPS.

Your CUPS is the unique position that your coaching company has in the mind of your potential

customers. How you are positioned in their mind determines whether or not they will choose to conduct business with you. A CUPS must be a reflection of what your clients experience when they hire you. It cannot be all images and no substance. If the CUPS does not match your clients experience they will not return to you and will look elsewhere for a coach who does.

For example, how would you feel if you went into Wal-Mart one day and found their prices had skyrocketed to match Neiman Marcus, Nordstroms or Saks Fifth Avenue? Conversely, how would you feel if you walked into the Nordstrom shoe department and received the service and quality that you would normally find at Wal-Mart?

Those stores have different CUPS. Wal-Mart promotes itself as a price leader, while Nordstrom’s claims quality and service. Yet both of these organizations make money and satisfy a specific market demand. Each has its own CUPS and attracts customers accordingly.

In order for your coaching company to grow and survive in today’s marketplace and beyond, you must be able to successfully answer these two questions:

  1. Why do people buy from you?
  2. If they aren’t buying from you now, why should they?

A business coach must have some kind of a sustainable competitive advantage. This is what sets you apart from the competition and makes you unique. In today’s highly competitive marketplace, however, it’s often difficult to really determine what’s unique about a particular coaching service. Many times there is nothing unique about it. In that case, you must establish a CUPS that the competition doesn’t offer that creates extra value or gives people additional reasons to buy your product or service.

Your CUPS can take form in four different ways. It can:

  1. Be the price leader – this means that out of all the competitors in the market, your company has the lowest price. This is a great advantage if it can be created and maintained. However, it’s often difficult to consistently be the price leader. Many coaches make the mistake of trying to be the price leader by constantly discounting their fees. This has caused many coaches to leave the profession. If you can position yourself as the price leader – great. If not, you shouldn’t play that game.
  2. Differentiate – this means that your coaching offers an advantage by doing something more or better or different than the competition. It could be in the form of longer hours, a better guarantee, higher quality, more services, better programs, etc.
  3. Focus on a certain niche – this means that your coaching zeroes in on one small segment of the market and then become either the price leader or differentiates itself in some way, but only to that small segment of the market.
  4. Extra Value Proposition – your coaching provides more value, more quality, more service than your competitors.

Determine which of these four areas you see as your strength or uniqueness. No matter which way you create the competitive advantage, it’s crucial that you have a distinct and much-defined CUPS. It’s your job as the business owner to create your CUPS, document it, and then firmly embed it in the minds of your employees and customers. This is crucial to the long-term success of your business.

Without an effective CUPS, people will never know why they should select you as their business coach. In the absence of any other perceived value, the buying decision on the part of the consumer will always be the price. This is great if you are and want to be the price leader, but if not, you will soon be out of business unless you can create the differentiation in some other way.

 About Terri Levine

Terri Levine is known as the business-mentoring expert with heart and is a top business and marketing strategist. She is changing the way business owners around the world connect with their target audiences, then sell and serve their customers and their employees. Terri is known for consulting with business owners to stop selling, marketing and operating businesses using traditional methods and moves them into true, authentic, heart-to-heart people-centered communication models where sales and marketing are done with authenticity and transparency. Learn more at

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