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29 January 2015

7 Ways to Brilliantly Differentiate Your Business From Competition

Is it hot in here?

Or maybe that’s the heat of competition you’re feeling. You’re sweating at the cheaper, faster, bigger or slicker new kids on the block, trying to eat away at your market share and customers, clients or donors.

All Selling Agency clients bring up “The Competition” in the first few minutes of discussing their challenges. Barriers to entry are getting smaller in most any industry and the more mature the industry or business, the more they’re worried about the competition.

Fear not business owners and sales pros. Your key to neutralizing competition and thriving in hypercompetitive markets is all about “differentiation” – not “besting” the competition.

Differentiate Your Business

Since buyers do most of their research and form their buying opinions before they even engage with you or your business, you’ve got to throw a few curveballs to keep you from being “commoditized” so they check the boxes and compare you “apples to apples”.

By focusing on what makes you “different” you take yourself out of those side by side comparisons to be more memorable and create a “category of one.”

Here are 7 ways to brilliantly differentiate your business from competition:

  1. Honor your core values and shout them, infuse them everywhere.

    There’s something really sexy about unwavering integrity – both in people and in business. Not everyone has to agree with your core values but by sticking with them and “living” by them, you earn respect, admiration and even loyalty.

  2. Champion your customers.

    Advocacy works both ways. Customers, donors and clients want to know that they matter to you – that they’re not just dollar signs. Take an active interest in what your customers are doing and share their struggles, successes and champion for them and their causes.

  3. Share your point of view – your unique perspectives.

    There’s a reason you are in your position. You have unique stories, successes, flops and fails that develop your experience bank and thus, shape your expertise. Don’t wait until you’re asked – put your voice and views out there. Find speaking opportunities, write a blog, publish on LinkedIn – get your voice out there so people know what it’s like to work with you and your business. {PS – this applies to CEO’s, Sales People and anyone in the business – don’t just leave it up to the marketing department.}

  4. Figure out what you’re selling.

    Sounds simple, but so many people get this wrong. If you own a hair salon, you’re not selling hair cuts and color. You’re selling self confidence. If you’re selling copier services, you’re not selling machinery, you’re selling convenience, efficiencies and the ability to focus on your core business. Many people focus on the product, features or capabilities. Focus on the results you bring and how working with you transforms business. Build your messages around those outcomes, the results, the “after” and wrap them up in the unique experiences they will have getting there.

  5. Create Experiences.

    Unless you create a new technology, technology levels the playing field for most businesses and industries. All things being relatively equal, the company that provides the best Experiences to customers wins. “CMX” is the real deal and you’ll start seeing more companies appointing Chief Customer Experience Officers to build meaningful and WOW experiences throughout their customers’ journeys. People don’t remember facts or details, they recount their memories based on experiences – how they felt. Give customers some real, meaningful and unexpected experiences to talk about.

  6. Focus on your differences.

    Playing the same game as your competition is a lot like shouting to be heard in a crowd. Instead of focusing on incremental benefits or advantages, focus on the things that make you different. A great example is Dollar Shave Club. If you have never seen their first ad, it’s worth the watch. They focus on simple, low cost razors: “Why pay for Shave Tech you don’t need”. Focus and feature what makes you different.

  7. Be the specialist.

    The deeper you can segment your audience or the more narrow a niche you serve, the higher you can convert those in that niche. Find a subset of needs to fill in your category and pick something really special to be “known” for and go for it.

 

Start by adding 1 and then see how many ways you can uniquely differentiate through focusing on what makes you unlike any other competitors.

Put yourself in a category of one so people can’t compare you to other apples, they’ll be comparing apples to apple pie.

Until next time, keep kickin’ butt!

-sks

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