Feb 2016
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In This Issue
Distinguishing Yourself from Your Competitors

One of the first questions I ask clients is, "what makes you/your company different?" They often have trouble answering this. I hear things like, "we're just better" or "our people" or "our service". If you can't answer this question, how are your clients supposed to know what makes your company different or better?

Defining the Difference

Most business owners or company leaders believe that they're "better", but many acknowledge that they really don't offer products or services that are substantially different than their competitors. In that case, what does make the difference?

There is no longer any meaning in phrases like "world class customer service". No one goes into a presentation claiming that their products or services are just so-so. Dig deeper to define exactly what you do that makes you better.

If your answer is "our people", what does that mean?
  • do you train your people in a special way?
  • do you have specific hiring practices?
  • do you require your employees to have a unique experience set?
If your answer is "our service", what do you offer that your competitors don't?
  • a money-back guarantee (do your competitors?)
  • a defined, unique customer service process?
  • what does it entail?
  • if your employees go "above and beyond", what does that mean?
Articulating the Difference

Once you have defined the difference, you must communicate it to your clients and prospects: on your website, in your marketing materials and in your sales presentations. This difference is part of your brand. Storytelling can be a useful tool to convey your message.

If going "above and beyond" is one description, explain what that means. Tell about the shipping clerk who took the package to the UPS depot on their own time on their way home from work so that the client would have it in the morning for their important event. Talk about the heartfelt note your customer service rep received when they followed up with a client who was having a difficult time. Does your restaurant ask about special dietary needs or celebrations when you are taking the reservation? How does that translate into a special experience for your customers?

Communicating the Message

Once you have the difference defined and your examples collected, you can share this information in a variety of ways:
  • periodic eBlasts to your clients
  • in blog posts
  • in newsletters
  • in LinkedIn Pulse articles
  • on your website
  • in personal meetings or sales calls
Don't leave it to your clients or prospects to decide on their own why you're the better choice; help them to understand through specific examples that convey your brand attributes and your company values.

Presentation Tools

Sick of the same old Power Point presentations? There are new tools available to make your presentations stand out from your competitors as well:

HAIKU DECK - all about dramatic images (limited functionality, but this can now be exported to ppt so that you can edit)

PREZI - Power point but with movement (careful with this one, it can make you dizzy. Use the features sparingly).

POWTOON - Made for storytelling with animation (relatively new & features are still being developed)

SLIDEROCKET - Dramatic presentations (great user interface, if a little expensive)