Two of the more common mistakes that many small businesses make are one, they don’t differentiate what they do from everyone else and two, even when they do try, they tend to make their differentiation common. For example, how often have you heard someone say, “You should use us because we … (insert one of the following phrases) … put our clients first, have the best customer service, are number one, offer the best value, are the fastest, offer the largest selection, etc.?” Too many to count!
Now, any one of those could be true, but how would any of your customers know--especially when your competitors are probably saying similar things. So, what’s the solution for getting out of this tangled mess and truly differentiating your company? Answer: Quantifying your competitive advantage!
For example, have you seen the new commercial for Zyrtec? What’s Zyrtec’s new bold claim?
That Zyrtec works TWO HOURS faster than Claritin. Notice, they didn’t say, “Zyrtec is faster than Claritin.” Why? Because all of us know anyone can lie with statistics. Faster could mean one second faster or ten seconds faster. But when Zyrtec says, “Our allergy pill works two hours faster,” that becomes compelling.
Now I’m not saying that the research/science behind their claim is correct. Nor am I saying that Zyrtec is the best choice for you. In fact, in my family, three family members have tried Zyrtec and found that it didn’t work for them (the reality for our family is that we’ve found that different meds work for different members so that our family of four uses three different brands). All I’m saying by way of my Zyrtec illustration is that by quantifying their competitive advantage, the makers of Zyrtec have made their competitive advantage both real and compelling.
And they’re not the only ones. For example, what toothpaste maker did this for years when they said, “9 out of 10 dentists choose ________?” Or what pizza joint promises to deliver your pizza in 30 minutes or less? _________ (of course they don’t promise it’s good, just fast :-).
So as you look at your business, what is your competitive advantage? And once you’re clear on it, can you figure out a way to make it quantifiable? For example, if you think customer service is your competitive advantage, can you quantify it with something like “94% of our customers refer us to their family and friends,” (assuming these are accurate numbers since integrity still matters). Or, “In a recent survey conducting by XYZ Research, 9 out of 10 residents in [our community] rated ABC company as number one for customer service.” You get the idea.
So, let me ask you once again. What is your competitive advantage? And how can you quantify it? If you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ve got to have a compelling competitive advantage that makes you the obvious choice for the people in your target market–a competitive advantage that makes you . . . well, remarkable!