We just finished Thanksgiving Weekend in Canada. It comes as a surprise to many of my US clients that Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October, while Americans celebrate the 4th weekend of November.
Ever wondered why? Here is some interesting morning reading on that (here)
Anyways, last week I spoke to a client’s VP of Sales who explained that market conditions, changes in client buying habits, lack of inventory, and the competition had made their sales effort harder than ever.
I was curious about the last point.
Sure, we know that supply chains have been disrupted, and product delays continue to add up, but if their competitors were still selling, why weren’t they?
I asked my client to explain two simple questions:
What are the top three reasons someone should buy from them over the competitor?
What, specifically, makes those top three reasons different than that of their competitors?
He struggled to answer. I asked him to ask his team and report back.
They struggled too.
I mean, it was easy for them to claim their customer service was a million times better and their product selection was superior, but I would be willing to bet their competition is saying the same thing.
How many times have you heard a company say, “We’re different because…”?
But yet, when you put on your customer hat and hear things like this, you almost always assume they’re likely not that much different at all!
Even those companies that aren’t much different and follow the status quo can still succeed, and that’s a good thing, but it leaves them incredibly vulnerable. It leaves them vulnerable to a competitor who’s both different AND better.
It’s hard to put ourselves in the minds of our customers, but it’s necessary to be both different and better.
When you say something is different, it has to be different enough, so when someone is exposed to marketing messages, they say, “Oh, that’s different, and I’ve never seen it done like that before!”
New is a great way to be different, but better is still a cut above.
You need to differentiate on your differences. That’s the kind of difference that’s remarkable.
So take those questions to those in sales, marketing, and even those at the executive level. Then, spend some time answering the question of what makes you different AND better.
If service is the only answer that people can come up with, you need to see if your client’s experiences match that sentiment.
If it does, why would they go to your competition?
P.S. We have officially launched my first CEO Peer Group. We had a launch meeting a couple of weeks ago. I’d like to invite you to check out the next one. Just shoot me an email if you’re interested in attending, and I can tell you more about it.