.

Where is Your Difference?

When you can clearly communicate why your business brings value to your customers, you have a competitive edge.

Right now, there are potential customers who are looking at your business and making a comparison between you and your competition. If they don’t see much difference between you and the others, then clearly you don’t stand out as the obvious choice. Both you and your competition advertise that you offer quality products and services. You are all competent, experienced and helpful. 
You aren’t competing on price, are you?

When businesses try to differentiate themselves by offering the lowest price, they  fall into the snare of the commodity market. Unless you have no choice, please do not choose to differentiate yourself by offering the lowest price. It will be very costly to climb out of that hole.

Here are 5 ways to distinguish your business:

  • Be Fast: Respond quickly. And, always be on time.

Become known for your prompt return of phone calls. Guarantee on time delivery.
Respond. Follow-up. Show up.  A handy-man business owner, whom I coached, was noted for on-time arrival for appointments. It was clearly a differentiator and earned his business many referrals. Because of this differentiation, he did not have to be the lowest price offer to build his business.

  • Be Easy: Easy to do business with, that is.

Review your processes and make sure that there aren’t glitches that are costing you customers. If there are ways to simplify a process or make doing business with you easier, make those adaptations now.

  • Show Value: Spell out the value that your customers will enjoy when they do business with you.

Do not assume that your customers know that you’re worth what you charge. 
Educate your customers so they fully understand why they have made the
right choice in doing business with you.

  • Be Relevant: Serve your customer with a ‘big picture’ approach.

Always look beyond your customer’s immediate needs with a bigger view of how
you can create opportunities for them or help them to succeed.  As an example, a company that provides accounting services to businesses holds several complimentary seminars each year on how to better manage finances for their clients.

  • Deliver with Excellence: Consistently good service earns the loyalty of customers.

When service is dependent on the mood swings of your staff, it is time to do some coaching. Talk about your expectations, the standards of service excellence that you want delivered every time. Model the behavior that you expect. Example is the best teacher. It is never OK to be inattentive, impatient or unkind to customers. Period.

How do you differentiate your business?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Eddie Thorpe August 10, 2011 at 05:10 PM
These are all great points that every business should follow daily. As always, great advice! Keep up the good work.
Lorraine Lane August 18, 2011 at 09:17 PM
Thank you!

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