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Selling your “point of difference”

differenceI once heard Atlanta pastor Andy Stanley say, that “if you have the only hotdog stand in town, your hotdogs don’t have to be that good.”  Most of us don’t have that option.

Business Coach Sue Miley wrote a blog recently on leveraging your points of difference. Sue rightly insists that if don’t leverage what makes your company unique, then you are the same as everyone else.

She gives 5 questions to help determine your point of difference.

  1. Who Buys from you? Go a little deeper than women or men and determine as best you can exactly “who” buys from you.
  2. Why does your customer buy from you?
  3. Why do they buy from you and not from your competitor?  This is where you begin to list qualities that are unique to your business and important to your customers.
  4. Are your unique qualities sustainable? I especially like this question.  In the industrial business that I’m in, some might say that we’re the only person in the SE stocking a particular part. But, what if a competitor begins stocking it? Is that still a unique quality?
  5. Are your unique qualities real? “We offer great customer service” is not a real point of difference.  What does that even mean?  ” We will have an A/C technician at your house within 2 hours-” is.

The more you can target, focus, and refine your market, the more successful you will be.  And by being certain that the value proposition you present contains real points of difference the easier it becomes to target.

I used to do a lot of trade shows.  There was always a tension between getting numbers of people to visit your booth, and getting qualified people to visit.  At these male dominated shows, you could ensure heavy booth traffic by having an attractive female on display, OR by raffling away sports tickets.

But I came to the conclusion early in my career, that smaller was bigger.  We didn’t just want people tramping through the booth, we wanted people that were interested in our products and services, and had the ability to buy them.

Remember, your target customer doesn’t have to be an existing customer, in fact, they may not even be aware you exist.

But if you’ll spend the time determining what your points of difference are, what target market that appeals to , and then relentlessly focusing on it.  You’ll find success.

One final thought..   these are moving targets.  Especially where technology is concerned, what was a viable business a few years ago, may not be now.  Know your business!