Whether you are selling a product, a service or your own personal brand, you will inevitably face competition. Your survival will be determined by your ability to differentiate yourself in the marketplace and there’s really only two ways to do that.
Create a unique angle.
If you charge a premium for your product or service, you must be able to justify it during the sales process and throughout the entire consumer relationship. As an expert in your field, you know what makes your business better than your competitors. If you don’t find a way to articulate the difference, you lose the business anyway. Maybe your product is far superior, your service is much better and you have more experience and talent than the guy down the street. Is that message being clearly communicated to your current and potential clients?
Regardless of industry, a common complaint we hear from our clients is that their biggest competitor is charging more money and providing an inferior product or service. In many cases, the competitor wins business because they’re better at sales or seem to have more experience in the field. The problem is that many well-known businesses with big name clients end up putting an inexperienced, junior team member in charge of their most valuable accounts. The owners and executives are busy leading teams and winning new business for the company, while clients unknowingly receive a less-than-stellar service from an unqualified staffer.
Does that scenario sound familiar? Use it to your advantage! Your unique angle should be that every project or account is managed by the owner and/or a senior team member who personally ensures the best return on your client’s investment. Small businesses, this is your competitive advantage!
If your business doesn’t fit into the scenario described above, work to identify another unique angle that will differentiate you from the competition and set you apart in the marketplace. Let’s look at Amazon for example. When they started out, they weren’t the only company with an online marketplace, but they established a point of distinction with their free, 2-day shipping for prime members.
Adjust your messaging.
By now we’ve all heard of Airbnb, but fewer of us have heard of Homeaway. Homeaway does the exact same thing and was founded a few years prior, but Airbnb has taken the market by storm based on one simple difference – messaging. While Homeaway coined themselves as a company for vacation rentals, Airbnb used a messaging that is easier to understand and resonates more with the target audience.
Which sounds better to you? A: “Vacation rentals!” or B: “Make money by renting out your home or spare bedroom!”
Airbnb attracted consumers by telling them to stay in Airbnb instead of a hotel room, because it’s cheaper and you get more amenities. That message makes a lot of sense to those who hear it and it got them much further than Homeaway. If your product is easy to use and more accurate than your competitors, make that the focus of your messaging. Even if it doesn’t have all the same bells and whistles, you can capitalize on the positive points and see some major growth.
Sometimes a unique angle or simple shift in brand messaging is all you need to charge past your competition. If you need help determining how to position your business in the marketplace, we can help!