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Thread: Why Should Someone Choose You Over The Competition

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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    Default Why Should Someone Choose You Over The Competition

    To me this is perhaps the most essential question you need to answer if you want to have a successful business.

    I came across a post, How To Make Potential Customers Pick You Over ‘The Other Guys’, which aims to help you answer the question and then how to convey your uniqueness to potential customers.

    The post offers 10 questions to ask yourself to discover your uniqueness, though in all honesty I don't think they're necessarily the best things to look for to discover what makes you different.

    Here are the first 3 questions:

    1. Are you more experienced?
    2. Are you quicker?
    3. Do you have better customer service?

    The rest are similar. I'm not sure how unique you become by having experience or providing better customer service. Those seem to me things your customers are going to expect. While I don't care for the specific questions to discover your uniqueness I do agree very much in the idea.

    I do like the 10 ways the posts suggests to convey your uniqueness. I'll let you check out the post to see what they are.

    Let me share a bit of my own experience. As most of you know I offer web design/development services. So do millions of others. Why should someone hire me. While I always felt I did a good job, charged a fair price, offered friendly services, etc., none of that is really enough to separate my services from everyone else.

    As many of you also know I've spent a lot of time learning how search engines and search engine optimization work. At first I thought I should simply offer those services, but that just put me in another industry of many with no way to distinguish myself.

    But by combing the two and offering seo design I do start to separate myself. SEO became more a way to stand out as a web designer and so helps make me more unique.

    Taking things further I work with WordPress a lot. First it was on my blog, then it was for other people's blogs. As I learned more about WordPress I could see it was more than blogging software and able to serve as a full CMS. I started putting more client sites on WordPress and becoming an expert in WordPress. Now it's another way to make my business unique.

    There are many, many web designers. By using seo as a selling point I'm now competing with less of the. Adding WordPress to the mix has me competing with even less. I'm certainly not the only web designer who knows seo and works with WordPress, but both do make me much more unique than your typical web designer.

    By no coincidence, the more I make myself unique the more my business has grown.

    How are you separating your business from the competition? If someone asked you why they should hire you instead of someone else what would you tell them?
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    Member Needs New Keyboard Array huggytree's Avatar
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    having great service is unusual in my business.

    i give estimates either on the spot or within 8 hours....my competition takes a week
    when i make a mistake i show up within 4 hours...my competition takes a week+

    i think every business must have a unique idea which appeals to the widest range of people, but still not be generic.

    my unique idea is better products and near perfect service...very few plumbers do it.. most are chasing after being the lowest price right now..whenever i talk w/ the competition they are always amazed at the high quality parts i use...they cost extra money....but it gives me something to bash the other guy with when i show up to bid...'i use this part, the other guys all use that one, mine is better because of 'X' , my installation method is better because of 'X'


    ive rarely had a customer ask how much experience i have...when dealing with unusual situations i make sure i let them know ive done it before.....acting professional usually says 'i have experience'

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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    I guess in some industries good customer service and the like are enough to make you unique. That makes sense. And having good service will certainly get you recommendations and word of mouth. I was thinking of it in the sense how most businesses will list customer service as a selling point so it becomes something you have to say instead of it being something that marks you as unique from the competition. Actually delivering on the promise can of course set you apart.

    You do manage to stand out by selling high end and using quality products and offering quality service. That definite does make you more unique. It also leads you in who you want to market to since we know some people are only concerned with the price.

    every business must have a unique idea which appeals to the widest range of people
    I agree, though I would qualify the word widest. I think it depends on the type of business. Some businesses only need a handful of clients or customers to be successful. You might only need to appeal to a few hundred people in order to have enough business consistently coming in. But it does make sense to cast the net as wide as you can.
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    Moderator Array Patrysha's Avatar
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    From that list I have to say the two that resonate with me are a combination of #8 having a unique reputation and #10 having specialized knowledge

    There just aren't many people out there who have gone the range of specialties that I have :-) It's quite possible that I am the only one in the world with the same mix and the ability to put it all together. Not that I am an expert in any of the fields that I have dabbled in, but I was (and am) successful and skilled enough in each area to be an asset to my clients - better than they could do on their own and less expensive than any specialist with a comparable skill level. Which works perfectly now that I've narrowed down my niche to small independently owned businesses :-)

    I learned over the last year that I do not do well when instructions come from the owner through a department manager - too many headaches!!

    Unless the project is one of my co-promotion efforts like the one I have been working on for the summer...but that's because it's all my ideas and I am in charge and the businesses are just buying in for a share of the co-op and aren't actually telling me what to do beyond supplying their information.
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    Post Impressionist Array vangogh's Avatar
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    It's quite possible that I am the only one in the world with the same mix and the ability to put it all together
    Which of course means that anyone needing your special mix is naturally going to hire you. You get the job because of your uniqueness.

    I'd agree with you on #8 and #10 from the list, though as huggy pointed out which one will work best for you does depend on your industry. If your industry is typically slow to finish the job then being quicker is certainly a great way to separate yourself. If your industry is good at delivering very fast then it's not going to help you stand out.
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    Frankly, I thought this article was quite outdated. It's the sort of thing that was prevalent about twenty/thirty years ago and much of it does not apply today. I suggest anyone who reads that article and sees their own success written there actually analyze their business and see what is really driving their success. Being unique is probably not the cause.

    I don't believe customers/clients go around looking for businesses that are unique. In fact, most customer/clients couldn't care less whether you are unique or not.

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    Moderator Array Patrysha's Avatar
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    Customers never care about you except in the context of what you can do for them. That has not changed since the beginning of time.

    The foundations of good business and marketing don't change with the wind. Tactics and strategies change, but the elements of building a solid business don't. So even advice that existed 20-30 years ago can be relevant...
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    But people's attitudes and circumstances change, Patrysha, and technology changes. Thirty years ago cold calling was a legitimate sales technique and, for me and many others, an extremely successful one. Today, what with auto-responders, answering machines, digital menus, longer working hours and caller ID, cold calling is an almost impossible way to sell product. Selling brushes and vaccuum cleaners door-to-door was good business once, but not anymore. Today we have social media and online forum, that did not exist thirty years ago.

    You are right when you say Customers do not care about you except in the context of what you can do for them. However, the foundations of good business and marketing do change over time as peoples' attitudes, needs and desires change, because what people care about changes and what people need you to do for them changes.

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    Moderator Array Patrysha's Avatar
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    I think we agree with each other, but are just talking in different terms.

    Cold calling & Email (to me) are channels of communication - that's about getting the message out. Those are the final steps in the marketing process, about making the sale.

    Foundations (to me) are things like product knowledge, customer service, understanding the needs and expectations of the target market, building a relationship...those things are the things that don't change over time.

    Channels change, foundations don't - that's my perspective.
    In pursuit of bright lights and good stories,
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    Sure, I agree there, Patrysha. My beef was with an article that touted Uniqueness as the answer to a successful business:- ...It’s more important now than ever to differentiate your freelancing business from other freelancing businesses. Differentiating your business is the key to winning clients from competitors. To do this, you must first discover what sets your freelancing business apart from similar businesses. Once you discover what’s unique about your freelancing business you must express that information clearly and frequently to your customers and prospective customers....

    ...when it seems eminently clear to me that uniqueness is immaterial. I don't think prospective customers search for businesses that are unique. I know I do not search out businesses that are unique? Is there anyone here who does that for their own purchases?

    In fact, focusing on one's uniqueness appeals only to those people who want that particular unique attribute - a necessarily narrow range of people, in most cases. Most people wanting help with public relations, for example, want a firm that is competent at public relations and I would expect every firm in that arena would claim to be that.

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