Learn 6 Rules to Create Your Competitive Advantage and Win
As I have built companies, there has always been competition. As you build your business or your brand there will be competition both direct and indirect. I've had to learn to embrace the competition and use it to make our company and our products/services better. There is one truth I've learned through the process, competition makes you better.
So how do you compete and win when your competition has more capital and resources than you do?
How to Win When the Competition Has More
What happens when thoughts like these cross your mind, "The competition is bigger than us. They have more money and resources, how do we compete?" Let me answer that question with another question, "Do you know why your customers choose you over the competition?" If not, it's time to learn why and give your prospects a reason to choose you over the competition.
Compete with a Strong Competitive Advantage
Jaynie L. Smith, author of Creating Competitive Advantage says this, "The biggest marketing flaw in most companies is their failure to fully reap the benefits of their competitive advantages. Either they think they have a competitive advantage but don't. Or they have one and don't even realize it. Or they know they have a strong competitive advantage but fail to promote it adequately to their customers or prospects." I recommend you read Jaynie's book.
How to Create a Competitive Advantage
So how do you create a competitive advantage? First, grab a pen and paper and get ready to go into brainstorm mode. Spend a few minutes writing down why you think your customers choose you over the competition. Once you have a good list, let's make sure it passes the competitive advantage rules. You'll also want to talk to your customers after you do your initial brainstorm. They will give you real insights and feelings around why they choose you. You those insights to start crafting your competitive advantage sentences (positioning statements).
6 Important Rules to Create a Competitive Advantage
In Jaynie's book she says a competitive advantage must follow 6 important rules:
1. Competitive advantage is objective, not subjective: You can't just say people do business with you because you have great customer service or good quality.
2. A competitive advantage is quantifiable, not arbitrary: Let's compare the following statements, "We have great customer service." or "Ninety-five percent of our business comes from referrals." The second one passes rule #2.
3. A competitive advantage is not claimed by the competition: You need to know what your competitors don't offer, but your customer wants, and claim it first.
4. A competitive advantage is not a cliche: Once again you can't say you have great customer service, you'll be tuned out, be specific. Something like, you provide service twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
5. A competitive advantage has to be true: It has to be true, if it's not true this can ruin your creditability and turn away customers.
6. Your customers have to care about your competitive advantage: Your customers must really care about the competitive advantage you are touting, if it doesn't resonate with them, it will do no good.
Here are a few examples of a good competitive advantage statements from Jaynie's book:
Seitlin Human Resources
"We save clients $30k to 50K annually in human resource management costs"
"We maintain a 97 percent client retention rate"
Once you have created your competitive advantages and vetted them with your customers. Make sure your employees know your competitive advantages by heart, so if anyone ever asks, "Why should I choose you over the competition?", everyone is on the same page.
Warren Buffet said this regarding competitive advantage:
Over the years, creating strong, clear, crisp, and true competitive advantages statements have helped our company tune in our message, grow faster than the competition, and disrupt industries in a positive way, a way that has a positive impact on people's lives.