“Differentiation” is a Joke. If You’re Serious, do This Instead.

On a regular basis folks call me to inquire if I can help them with their business (Sales, Marketing, Lead Gen, etc). And one of the pivotal questions I ask during these qualification calls is: “So why you?” or “So why your product/service?”

And almost invariably they will say something like this:

What makes us different then (fill in competitor name) is our (fill in with any mixture of: price, service, quality, experience…).”

The big problem here is that this is a comparison-based “differentiation,” which means that the “competitor” is still part of the equation.

For example let’s take the simple statement:

John is taller than Steve.

If we are looking ONLY for the tallest person, John wins.

But in the world of B2B Sales we are never looking ONLY for ‘the tallest guy.’ We are looking for complex solutions to intricate problems.

So even though John is tallest, we are still thinking ABOUT Steve. Steve is still in our minds, and if Steve has better real estate in our minds then he will win, regardless of how tall John may be.

So simply by raising the IDEA of Steve, John loses.

The same holds true for you.

Every time you play the “I’m better than (competitor)” game you will lose if (Competitor) has better real estate in your prospect’s mind.

This is the poison pill of “differentiation.”

In developing the Persona-Positioning method we wanted to make sure that we could help clients eliminate this problem of‘death by differentiation.’

The answer we devised is to be Distinct.

Distinct = distinguishable to the mind as discrete or separate; presenting a clearunmistakable impression

When you are Distinct, you stand alone. THAT is what you really want.

So how do we create Distinction for ourselves, our product or service?

Here are three ideas to try:

1 – Focus on the Fear Factor. Instead of pushing what you sell, go after what you solve.

Example: We provide hair restoration services – VERSUS – We make sure you’ll never be the old bald guy at the club!

2 – Connect the Unconnected. Instead of focusing on the one-dimension of what you do in your current role, combine multiple skills.

Example: You now work as an Accountant, but you used to be in the Army on the Bomb Squad.

So you can call yourself an “Accountant” or you can be a “Financial IED Expert.”(IED = Improvised Explosive Device). And you can say that you used to find and dismantle IEDs before they killed personnel, just like you now find and dismantle buried financial problems before they kill you’re your finances.

3 – Make the Status Quo go Whoa. Instead of falling in line with “how things are done,” attack assumptions.

Example: Training for how to be the best at Smiling then Dialing – VERSUS – Training to assure you never Smile then Dial, because when you are smiling you are thinking about YOUR face instead of the CLIENT’S words.

Anyway, those are just some ideas for you to play with.

So have some fun, create your Distinction and grow your business!