Finding your point of difference – without competing on price
In business it pays to be different, but when you’re selling the same products or services as everyone else in your industry, it can be hard to find a way to differentiate yourself that doesn’t include competing on price.
While it can seem like a good idea to begin with, focusing on price alone means you have to work harder to make a profit. It also leaves you vulnerable to competitors who undercut, and you tend to attract a certain kind of customer – those difficult, price-driven customers who will leave you the moment they find a cheaper price.
So how do you find your point of difference when you have the same offering as others? Here are five ideas to get you thinking about how you can differentiate your business – without competing on price.
1. Experience or expertise
Take a closer look at what you personally bring to your business and clients that your competitors don’t.
"Take a closer look at what you personally bring to your business and clients that your competitors don’t."
- Have you been in business longer or had more industry experience?
- Have you built your business out of your own need, so have first-hand experience with the issue your clients are facing?
- Do you specialise in an area most don’t?
- Do you have any specific qualifications that are hard to attain or very exclusive?
- Have you dealt with difficult or uncommon situations that have given you more specialised knowledge?
- Are you or your business more well known and trusted than competitors?
- Have you worked for any major companies?
2. Better processes
Are there any key differences in the way you develop, produce (or source) and deliver your products or services compared with the way others do?
- Is your project briefing more comprehensive to ensure more tailored products or services?
- Do you take extra steps to ensure higher quality products or services?
- Do you follow a specific process or formula that gets more consistent results?
- Do you have better client follow-up to ensure they received what they needed/wanted?
- Do you offer a guarantee that is more inclusive or longer than your competitors?
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3. Exceptional quality and/or consistent results
Can you prove your products or services are of a higher standard, have more value or achieve better results than your competitors? A potential client will likely select your business if you can, even if you are more expensive.
- Do you produce higher quality products or services or get greater or more consistent results?
- Have you helped a large percentage of clients achieve something or generated consistent quantifiable results that are proven through testimonials or case studies?
- Do your products last longer, work faster, use less energy or are they more sustainable?
- Do you use stronger, more durable and/or safer materials?
- Does your business have a better safety record?
- Do you have the exclusive rights to sell a particular brand or product?
4. A wider range of products or services
Do you or could you offer a wider range of products or services than your competitors?
- Do you have a wider range of colours, shapes or styles?
- Do you have products available in different material or patterns?
- Do you have better or more add-ons?
- Do you offer (or have you aligned with other businesses to offer) a one-stop-shop of services?
- Do you include training, “how to” guides, workshops, or webinars on how to get the most from your products or as a value-add for your services?
5. More personalised and/or quicker service
Do you provide a really quick turnaround on products or services compared to others in your industry? Or a more personalised customer service where your competitors are faceless? Many people will choose a business and pay more if products and services are received quicker and/or they have the convenience of being able to contact someone easily.
- Will customers always talk to a human being or only be on hold for a certain period of time?
- Are you easier to get hold of?
- Are you available for longer hours or have an emergency after hours call service (if applicable to your industry)?
- Do you have a set time you answer enquiries by?
- Do you ship products or deliver services quicker?
- Do you have a guaranteed delivery time?
- Do you give your clients more one-on-one time?
The key to finding your point of difference is to get a little creative. Look closely at the needs and frustrations of your prospects and clients as well as what your competitors are doing and, more importantly, not doing. Very soon you will start to identify your existing points of difference and additional opportunities for you to differentiate.
How do you differentiate your business from the rest of your competitors without competing on price?