Chances are good that you have a fair amount of competition – maybe too much. Some days, weeks or months it might feel like your competition is getting the better of you. Where are all the clients? You can’t even seem to string-together a decent number of prospects. We’ve all been there. Luckily, US Learning International’s CEO, Don Hutson, has some experience consulting entrepreneurs on the practice of competitive differentiation. Don understands that the first rule of successfully attracting clients is simple: you must STAND OUT. If you aren’t getting noticed or leaving a memorable impression, then it really won’t matter how much better you are than your business competition. In today’s story on Platinum Rules for Success, Don Hutson shares with us his tried & true rules for “competitive differentiation”.
Beat Your Business Competition by Standing Out!
by Don HutsonT he content of this story is provided as a result of some good questions I was asked, following a recent webinar on Selling Value and Differentiation. First, let’s set the record straight- we are ALL in sales! Every time a person speaks he/she wants to be effective, credible, convincing, impacting, – the list goes on – if they want to secure their “Desired Productive Outcome”.
It behooves all of us to understand the skills of presenting our ideas to others, so here is an overview of takeaways for you… First be certain you are talking to the person who can help you advance your cause; Second, do all you can to understand them and their goals (“Seek first to understand, then you will be better understood”). A needs-analysis or at least a cursory questioning process to understand their needs, wants and priorities, etc. will normally be of great help in advancing the relationship. Thirdly, when you feel the timing is right present your ideas, solutions and desired outcomes. If step two and step three are out of order it will usually short-circuit the process.
So how do we stand out from the crowd? In our U. S. Learning “Differentiation Model” we have seven types of differentiation. Even if you are selling a commodity, you can still stand out with a solid differentiation strategy. The seven types of differentiation are: Product, Relationship, Process, Experiential, Technological, Marketing, and Price.
To put this in memorable form, here are my suggestions, in order, referencing the above categories:
- Try to offer a product or service that is different from and better than your business competition!
- People want to do business with those they know, like and trust, so make relationship building and solid follow through a priority.
- Have a process of doing business that responds to the specific needs of each customer. It is worth the trouble – if you can make it easy and comfortable for them to buy from you, they will often stay with you!
- Experiential is all about your service model. Make it extraordinary and perform customer service miracles when you can. You will be standing out if you can make them say WOW!
- Use technology to your advantage every way you can. You will appear more sophisticated than your competitors.
- If you can outsell your competition, all other categories can be the same!
- Succumb to price cutting only when it is a last resort, and if you go there, go reservedly. Preserving your company’s margin should be a key objective.
If you are going to move up, you’ve got to stand out from your business competition! These ideas should help you do it. Good selling!
Don Hutson‘s careers in speaking, management and sales have brought him many honors. He successfully worked his way through the University of Memphis, graduating with a degree in Sales. After becoming the #1 salesperson in a national training organization, he established his own training firm and was soon in demand as a professional speaker. Don’s client list includes over two-thirds of the Fortune 1000, and he is featured in over 100 training films. He is CEO of U.S. Learning, Chairman of Executive Books, and makes some 75 speaking appearances per year. Perhaps you have seen him on national television where he has been featured on both PBS and Fox News.
He is the author or co-author of twelve books, including The Sale, and his two Wall Street Journal and New York Times International best sellers, The One Minute Entrepreneur and The One Minute Negotiator.
Don is a member of the prestigious Speakers Roundtable. He was elected by his peers to the presidency of the National Speakers Association, and has received its coveted “Cavett Award,” as member of the year. He has also been inducted into NSA’s Speakers Hall of Fame.