|By Scott McKain||
|February 16, 2013 12:47 PM EST||
After recently meeting a person sitting next to me on a plane, she gave me her business card at the end of the flight and the conversation.
Interested in her organization — as she was involved in a business very similar to the one my late wife, Sheri, worked in for many years — I noted something on their website that really struck me. It was the headline, “What Makes Us Different.”
Naturally, as I’m fascinated by what makes something stand out from the competition, I read the bullet points of what they believed separated them from the others in their industry.
Here they are:
- experience (Like the competition is totally staffed with rookies who have no background?)
- depth of knowledge (So, you’re asserting that the competition is dumber than you, right?)
- founded by innovative entrepreneurs (Since, by definition, the competition had to be founded by entrepreneurs, too, I guess they were started by “traditional entrepreneurs”?)
- depth in multiple market segments (As my wife said the same thing about the company where she worked in the late ’90′s, I promise you this is nothing new.)
None of these points would be considered by savvy prospects or clients to make the company different! They would be required, however, to make that company relevant in the hyper-competitive industry in which they play. However, there is absolutely zero here…taken from a client’s or prospect’s perspective…that would truly qualify to be listed under the heading, “What Makes Us Different!”
In other words, the company has displayed they don’t “get” what would make their customers perceive them as superior to the competition! (And, if you don’t understand that…why wouldn’t a prospect also surmise that you might not “get” other salient aspects of doing business together?)
What should the company do?
1) Ideally, follow the plan outlined in “Create Distinction,” and go through the process of the Four Cornerstones. Develop something that truly DOES “make you different.”
2) In the meantime, ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS what “makes you different.” I’d much rather read on your website that Jane Doe of the XYZ Corporation said your “depth in multiple market segments truly stood out from the others,” than hear that same claim from you!
AND, by asking your customers what makes you stand out, you may uncover areas you’ve overlooked that are of primary importance to those doing business with you!
Here’s the ultimate litmus test: Look at the website of your top competitor. What do THEY say makes THEM “different”?
If it’s the same thing that your organization is stating — then those points have little traction in creating differentiation for either of you from the customer’s perspective.
Think distinct. Then, go out and create distinction…