Would you agree that it’s harder than it’s ever been to truly differentiate your company? Whatever it is that makes you different, it seems your competitors now say the same thing about themselves? And your prospects view you as looking just like everyone else?
Yes, we have noticed as well. And when end-users can’t figure out what sets you apart, they fall back to price, and none of us are interested in the “race to the bottom” for our business or our industry.
So how is it that some companies manage to stand out year after year in an industry that has become commoditized? The companies consistently showing growth even in commoditized markets don’t win because of what they offer. No, they win because of how and why they offer it. What is your purpose or belief? Why does your organization exist?
I have given this a tremendous amount of thought lately. I was reminded of the TED Talk by Simon Sinek. In his 5 minute presentation below, he illustrates that people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. Probably the greatest example he provides, is Apple. Why is it that year after year Apple is more innovative than all its competitors? Is it because their computers or phones have the best features? Simon thinks not. It’s because they communicate that they challenge the status quo. People that relate to this concept and feel that they too like to challenge the status quo are attracted like magnets to Apple! I encourage you to take the time to watch his TED Talk:
Tap one of your sales reps on the shoulder the next time they are headed out to an appointment and ask them to tell you what makes them different than the competition. You will likely hear, “our customer service is the best, our response time is less than 1 hour, we have certified technicians, our brand is the best”, etc. That is the minimum your end users require for you to even get in the door. Those things are expected!
What you should hear is, “We believe there’s nothing more important than your people, and our business process optimization can help your employees be more efficient so they can focus on the work that keeps them happy and productive.” Or, “Our response time ensures you are able to maintain business continuity.” You could try the approach,“What if I told you, you could focus on growing your business and I would take care of making sure your documents are secure?” Utilize business acumen techniques and show a return on the investment you offer.
This is a classic example of “here is what our product can do for you vs. here is what you can do with our product”. When you “sell value” you start with the business goal or personal win that the customer would like to achieve and tie it back to a specific benefit that you are offering. Start with your why and differentiating just got a little easier.
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