“In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different” – Coco Chanel
Do your prospective customers know clearly why they should buy from you rather than from your competitors? If they can’t see any difference between you and your main competitors, then the only advantage you have is price. Selling on a price basis is selling to your competitors strengths which can end in disaster!
In business, you should never try to compete in your market based on price alone. Aim to offer customers the highest quality at a fair price. Focus on value, buyers today have significantly higher standards than in the past and they know good quality and value when they see it.
Differentiation in the market place is key, so first you should look at how you stack up to your competition. See where you stand by asking yourself these 4 questions:
What can you do that they can’t?
What can they do that you can’t?
What do you do better?
What do they do better?
Like many traditional business and marketing plans, to identify what makes your organization unique, you must look at where you rank on:
– Is your pricing policy something that sets you apart from your competitors?
– Who are your best customers? Do you work best with small, medium or large customers? What is you ideal customer?
– Are your products superior to those of your competitors? Be realistic and try to not be biased. Many of the world’s most successful organizations have competitors with a higher quality product; they just have a more effective pricing strategy/marketing campaign.
– How well-known are you? By whom and for what? How do you communicate your brand online? When you Google your company and products, do you like the results?
5. Customer service
– Do you have an effective customer service strategy? Is it unique? Who are your front-facing employees?
6. Decide how you want to differentiate yourself
- Considering the above 5 factors, which category is your strongest and weakest? Which category offers the best value to your customers? Always try to identify more than one category, and rank them in value as differentiators. Remember, each customer is different and not equally impressed by the same message!
These may seem like basic and traditional business questions, but many struggling organizations today forget to take a minute to step back and focus on the basic elements of how to create a successful organization.
You must consider the customer's perspective. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself… “What’s in it for me?” Then, you can outline the most valuable aspect of your product or service. If you know what is most important to your customer, you can work on making this one of your strongest assets! Find out what elements your customers value in order of importance. Do not assume you know the answers to these questions.
Success in an organization may be acquired over time or overnight, but the best organizations are always striving to be different and do something new. Revisiting these areas on a continuous basis will ensure that just as customers and markets are changing, so is your company. As your customer values evolve, so should your business. Don’t stick with the norm. Differentiation is an ongoing process. Dare to be different and you will really start winning in business
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