In business it pays to be different, but when you’re selling the same products or services as everyone else in your industry, it can be hard to find a way to differentiate yourself that doesn’t include competing on price.
While it can seem like a good idea to begin with, focusing on price alone means you have to work harder to make a profit, it leaves you vulnerable to competitors who undercut and you tend to attract a certain kind of customer – those difficult, fickle, price-driven customers who will up and leave you the moment they find a cheaper price.
So how do you find your point of difference when you have the same offering as others? Here are six ideas to get you thinking about how you can differentiate your business without competing on price.
1. Experience or expertise
Take a closer look at what you personally bring to your business and clients that your competitors don't.
- Have you been in business longer?
- Have you had more industry experience?
- Have you built your business out of your own need so have first-hand experience with the issue your clients are facing?
- Do you specialise in an area most don’t?
- Do you have any specific qualifications that are hard to attain or very exclusive?
- Have you dealt with difficult or uncommon situations that have given you more specialised knowledge?
- Are you or your business more well-known and trusted?
- Have you worked for any major companies?
- Have you written a book?
- Are you a member of any exclusive groups or associations?
- Have you won an award?
2. Better processes
Are there any key differences in the way you develop, produce (or source) and deliver your products or services compared to the way others do?
- Is your project briefing more comprehensive to ensure more tailored products or services?
- Do you take extra steps to ensure higher quality products or services?
- Do you follow a specific process or formula that gets more consistent results?
- Do you have better client follow up to ensure they received what they needed/wanted?
- Do you offer a guarantee that is more inclusive or longer than your competitors?
3. Exceptional quality and/or consistent results
Do you produce higher quality products or services or do you get greater or more consistent results? If you can prove you products or services are of a higher standard, have more value or achieve better results than your competitors, a potential client will quickly select your business even if you are more expensive.
- Have you helped a large percentage of clients achieve something? (70% of clients achieve their goal weight within six months of training with you)
- Do you have quantifiable results that are proven through testimonials or case studies? (Doubling profit, halving expenses)
- Do your products last longer or work faster?
- Are they more environmentally friendly or energy efficient?
- Do you use more stronger, durable and/or safer materials?
- Do you as a business have a better safety record?
- Do you have the exclusive rights to sell a particular brand or product?
4. A wider range of products or services
Do you or could you offer a wider range of products or services than your competitors?
- Do you have a wider range of colours, shapes or styles?
- Do you have it available in different material?
- Do you have better or more add-ons?
- Do you offer (or have you aligned with other businesses to offer) a one stop shop of services?
- Do you include “how to” guides, workshops, or webinars on how to get the most from your products or as a value add for your services?
5. More personalised and/or quicker service
Do you provide a really quick turnaround on products or services compared to others in your industry? Or a more personalised service where your competitors are faceless? Many people will choose a business and pay more if products and services are received quicker and/or they have the convenience of being able to contact someone easily.
- Will customers always talk to a human being or only be on hold for a certain period of time? (particularly important in industries where you are normally left on hold or have to do everything through a website and not talk to someone)
- Are you easier to get hold of?
- Are you available for longer hours or have an emergency after hours call service (if applicable to your industry)?
- Do you have a set time you answer enquiries by?
- Do you ship products or deliver services quicker?
- Do you have a guaranteed delivery time?
- Do you give your clients more one-on-one time?
- Do you spend more quality time getting to know clients in order to help them better?
6. Well-known clients
Do any well-known individuals or brands use your products or services? Being able to differentiate yourself by the quality of your clients can be a great way to establish credibility and generate publicity for your business.
Not only do you appeal to their fans and clients, people will naturally assume you are good if high-profile people or businesses use and endorse your products or services.
Ask your well-known clients if they would mind giving you a testimonial (video is ideal) about how they have enjoyed your products and services. Also ask if you can use their name and logo on your website and in other promotional material, as this will help build credibility and rapport with potential customers.
There are literally hundreds of ways to differentiate your business and establish your value. The key is to get a little creative. Look closely at the needs and frustrations of your potential clients and what your competitors are doing and more importantly not doing, very soon you will start to identify your existing points of difference and additional opportunities for you to differentiate.