Traveling down a rural highway in Zambia, Africa I ran across something curious. Every five to ten miles there would be a large pull-out beside the highway. Here the locals would bring produce to sell at their roadside stands. What I found curious though was every stand was selling the same thing.
We would pass a pull-out with 5 to 7 stands all selling tomatoes. The next pull-out everyone was selling cucumbers. Then at the next one, everyone was selling honey. Next, we saw everyone selling cabbage. Then everyone would be selling tomatoes again.
If I felt like buying some tomatoes and pulled off the road, who would I buy my tomatoes from? How would I choose when everyone is selling the same thing, stacked the same way?
Would I choose to buy my tomatoes from the person that seemed the friendliest?
Would I simply make my purchase from the stand that was closest to my vehicle?
If I have the time, I might get out and bargain with several individuals to see who has the best price.
This is the state of so many businesses. They have never taken the time to differentiate themselves from the competition–never focused on being unique.
If you don’t look or sound different from the competition, how do you expect people to choose you?
When you don’t differentiate yourself from the competition, your potential customers or clients find it difficult to choose who to do business with. You can make it much easier for your customers or clients to find you if you set yourself apart from everyone else.
What can you do to make your business look and sound different from the competition? You can discover what already makes you different or you can simply create a difference. Either way, once you have defined what makes you different, you have to highlight it. You have to put the spotlight on your difference so that your customers can more easily make a choice.
Let’s consider a couple of examples.
Let’s consider a plumber first. They could create a statement about what they offer to put at the top of their website. It might go like this:
We’re plumbing experts.
There are times in life when you need a plumber. We’re here to help you!
What could this plumber say to help them stand out even more?
The plumbing expert for active families.
We provide plumbing services for active families so the frustration of toilet overflows go away.
That simple statement separates this plumber from the competition. They serve active families. If their website visitor is a mom or dad, they have captured their attention.
The next line helps them stand out even more. What problem do they help with? Plumbing, but specifically, the fear of toilets overflowing.
You can differentiate yourself simply by saying who you help, what problem you solve and the solution that you offer.
One of the challenges for business owners is the fear of not appealing to everyone. Yet it’s that very fear that keeps them looking and sounding just like the competition. This makes it difficult for the right people to choose you.
When you get clear on what you do, who you serve and why you serve them, it will help you stand out from the crowd.
Let’s look at a second example. This time our example will be a naturopathy medicine clinic.
The website might say something like the following:
So what makes that statement stand out from the crowd? Nothing. If I’m looking for a naturopathy clinic, I at least know I’m on a naturopathy doctor’s website, and no matter who I select as an N.D., they’d better offer healing and outstanding results. I’m not interested in going to a doctor who doesn’t provide relief and healing. Every naturopath could say that on their website.
So what could they do to be more specific to stand for something so I could pick them?
Let’s say I have a knee injury and I’m frustrated because I love getting outside and going on adventures. If I find a naturopathy website that says the following:
We specialize in helping you recover from knee injuries.
Surgery-free solutions that work, because relief matters and adventure awaits!
Well, look at that. They specialize in knee injuries! They’ve got my attention! And I’m interested in getting back outdoors and going on adventures. And here they are telling me that they’ll help me get my knee working again without surgery because relief matters and adventure awaits. Bingo! Where’s the phone number because these are the people that can help me!
Do you see the difference? Do you see how you can help people choose you? Stop making it difficult for your customers or clients to choose you.
It’s time you decided how to differentiate yourself from the competition. You need to decide what will make you unique.
How many good clients or customers are you losing because they have no idea you’d be the right one for them? You can begin the process of becoming distinct and standing out from the competition right now by reading this article on how to become unique.