Differentiate Your Business From Your Competition and You Can Dominate Your Market - Engine Builder Magazine
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Differentiate Your Business From Your Competition and You Can Dominate Your Market

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For the rest of us, competition from businesses that supply similar products and services is part of our daily business lives. The more popular the product or service, the more competition there is. Sometimes this is geographically dictated; where I live in the desert southwest, there are literally hundreds of swimming pool builders and air conditioning companies to choose from, but very few places that sell skiing or snow removal equipment. In the northern parts of the country, I’m sure the opposite is true.

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So in the face of all this competition, how can you grow your business? You must learn to differentiate your company and communicate those differences to your target market.

Companies that want to sell more at higher margins must differentiate from others in ways that customers are willing to pay for. Consumers think about your service as a commodity, and when that happens, lowest price becomes the overriding concern. That is the worst thing that can happen if you want to grow your business and produce higher margins.

If you try to promote your business by lowest price, you will go broke; there is always someone who will sell for less. You cannot make sufficient margins with a lowest price strategy to pay your bills and stay in business.

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So business owners you need to help customers see distinct differences in your businesses to grow sales, and sell at higher margins. There is a formal term for this, it’s called “points of differentiation” and understanding this is key to being able to make prospects and customers choose you over all of your competitors.

Knowing how to do this is crucial. Companies that make an attempt to differentiate themselves from others often do so in ways that will never accomplish that objective. As an example, they use terms like:

    • Family owned and operated

    • Fast and friendly service

    • Best team in the engine business 

    • Your friend in the rebuilding industry

    • Our service is the best

I’m sure there are lots of others you can think of. Just cruise the Web or Yellow Pages and you will see as many of these as you want. The problem with these claims is that your competitor can easily say the same things, leaving it up to the subjective opinion of the consumer (or lowest price!!) from which to make his or her buying decision.

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The other point is that many of these claims, when you look at them closely are often not true! Especially with businesses that make claims about superior service. This is something that I see often with real estate agents, all of whom claim to give superior service. In fact, they will list your home, sell you a home, market your property, and present you with offers. They do not mow your lawn, do your shopping, or baby sit your kids. They do what every other agent in town does, so claims of superior service are meaningless at best.

When you market your business, you need to talk about how you solve problems and fill needs better than anyone else. Think about what your customer is looking for when they go on the internet to find your product or service. Understanding what they want or need, supported by performance guarantees and testimonials, free trials, or free consumer reports are the ways to provide points of differentiation.

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Focus on things that other businesses can’t say “me too” or are not subject to interpretation.  These are the ideal things to feature in your marketing if and only if they bring real value that people will pay for.

There is one other thing to check before you decide to make a claim in your advertising. Can it pass the “I would hope so test”?  What is this? It’s when you state the obvious, as in these examples:

When a machine shop claims, “We have the equipment and training to diagnose and repair all problems” … You think, well, I would hope so! That’s what you do, isn’t it?

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Focus on the specifics that differentiate your business keeping in mind how this will affect the decision of the consumer, and avoid all obvious and meaningless things you will see being used by your competitors.  You are not your customer; so you must spend time thinking about your business from their prospective and why they should choose you over all the other options including doing nothing at all. Once you have done this and communicate these points of differentiation in all your marketing, you will get more customers, more revenue and profit, and in time dominate your market.

This story was provided by the AfterMarketer Club. For more information, visit their website at www.aftermarketerclub.com.

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