5 Strategies to Help You Stand Out From Your Competition
Help me! I am Stuck in the Middle of the Pack and I Cannot Break Free from the Competition
Sound familiar? Are you finding it harder and harder to stand out from the rest of the pack? If so, you are not alone. But, that is no excuse for not trying to figure out new ways to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Why is it so tough?
There are three reasons why it is so tough today to differentiate ourselves from our competition. Or if we are lucky enough to find something that differentiates us, it is hard to sustain that differentiation long-term. The competition always seems to catch up.
The first reason is we live in a commodity world. There are no longer any trade secrets. The internet has rendered trade secrets obsolete. Even if you do have something special, it won’t be too long before your competition figures it out and copies you.
This dynamic has expanded people’s menu of options. All one needs to do is hop on the internet, type in their search topic and voila! dozens of options magically appear. The more choices our target audience has the more commoditized we become.
Second, years ago the American economy was dominated by the sale of goods. Today, 79.4% of the GDP is powered by the sale of services. The problem is 80% of buyers are visual. This means buyers need to see something to validate their buying decisions. With everybody selling the invisible, it all becomes a blur to the buyer.
Lastly, it is unbelievably noisy in the marketplace with all the competition. Statistics show that the average person receives 3000 email messages a week. There is more information in one Sunday edition of the New York Times than a 19th century Englishman was likely to acquire over his entire lifetime.
According to Harry Beckwith, author of What Clients Love, the people who win today are the filterers, synthesizers, and condensers. Less is more has never been more essential.
The 5 Strategies To Help You And Your Business Stand Out From The Competition
Strategy #1 – Build a great personal brand.
I am convinced that personal branding is the final frontier of marketing. It is the only asset we have total and enduring control over. And it speaks to all three challenges in today’s marketplace.
It cannot be commoditized because you are uniquely you.
Your personal brand satisfies that visual element that the customer needs to see in order to confidently make a buying decision.
A personal brand cuts through all the noise. When people meet us for the first time they form an impression in just ¼ of one second. You can block calls, emails, and snail mail, but you cannot stop someone who is in front of you from communicating his/her message. And, before they even utter a word.
Strategy #2 – Think, struggle, fight to find that one thing that makes your product and service unique.
Thomas Edison once remarked that, “Man will do everything he can to avoid the hardest of all labors, which is think for himself.” How hard are you thinking about your differentiating factor(s)?
Don’t get bogged down in trying to find that one thing that only you have, like a Google algorithm or secret recipe. It may not exist. Being one of a select few is good enough. Pick it, craft your message around it, and sell it with everything you have. In other words, go all in.
Strategy #3 – Do things differently than your competition.
I have coached commercial real estate brokers for years and I have asked, (no, begged) them to try to do something different then their competition when making a competing pitch. If you have ever sat through a pitch you quickly realize everyone is essentially the same. They say the same things in exactly the same way. It is the safe approach.
Here's the formula:
Broker #1 comes in and covers the following topics: Introductions, Market, Services, Results and if there are a few minutes, he/she touches on uniqueness. Brokers 2-5 come in and say the same thing. How do you think the customer feels?
What if broker #6 came in and said: “I am going to briefly introduce our team. Our resumes are in front of you. I’ll spend a few minutes on the market, a few minutes on our services and past customers, but the bulk of our time is going to be spent on telling you how we are unique.”
How can you do what you are doing differently than the competition?
Problem is it is too much work. It is easier to just grind it out the same way “We have all been doing it for years.”
Now, that's depressing.
Strategy #4 – Be a dynamic storyteller.
I don’t necessarily mean get up in front of your audience and tell stories that capture your audience's imagination. Although, at times that doesn’t hurt.
What I am talking about is telling the story of you and your products and services in an interesting way. Or at least better then your competition does.
How good are you at telling the story of you and what you have to offer? Have you ever asked anyone?
Two people can deliver the exact same content, but deliver two entirely different messages.
Strive to be be interesting. That may be all you need to differentiate yourself.
Strategy #5 – Take a chance.
Fortune favors the brave. Make your move before you are ready and your net will appear.
I remember years ago, Monster.com rolled the dice and risked its entire marketing budget on one Super Bowl ad. Think about that. There entire company was riding on one ad. It turned out to be a smash hit and overnight Monster.com was on the map and a player in the recruiting space.
What risks are you avoiding?
There are few things that capture the attention of others like a reputation of someone who is not afraid to take chances.
If you want help crafting messages that will help you stand our from your competition than you will want to check our our Creating Million-Dollar Messages program.