What is your competitive advantage?
What do you do that nobody else can do in exactly the same way?
If at first you can’t identify one, surely you can identify a gap between what your clients and prospects need and what your competitors provide?
Here are some possible gaps:
- Customer service
- Timely delivery
- Unique experiences
- A vision for applying the product or service to the client’s business goals
- Style and flare
What is the industry standard for delivering your product or service?
My guess is that the standard is mediocre. My guess is that there are a ton of ways that you can stand out if you put a little effort in certain areas.
My guess also is that you already stand out but you fail to leverage your unique stand out-ness.
Identify Your Competitive Advantages
Think about the gifts you bring to the table. You do bring gifts to the table, by the way. You bring unique perspectives to the table. When you walk into a client’s office, your background and personality and character are different than any other vendor or sales pro that will be walking into the same office.
Leverage those differences. Lean into your uniqueness.
Steal good habits and processes and good ideas. But don’t mimic others’ personalities. This will dilute your ability to use your competitive advantage.
Where does your competitive advantage come from? What are the sources of your competitive advantage?
The Low-Hanging fruit: A Unique or Exclusive Product
Your exclusive access to a product. AT&T leveraged this around the iphone when that originally came out. In my world (insurance), State Farm or AllState agents can leverage their exclusive access to their products to their benefit. They can glom onto the marketing machines created by their home offices. They can get really, really good at knowing their product.
If you have exclusive access, you can lord that over prospects… or use it like a kind, compassionate king would use his ability to control for good vs. evil.
The Not-So-Low-Hanging Fruit: Your Product and Industry Knowledge
Your expertise: You can study your market. You can study your product lines. You can gain insight into the needs, desires, and pain points of your prospects. You can solve their problems by your sheer understanding of the issues at stake.
You can develop this expertise. You can study and learn and take advantage of training so that you can leverage your knowledge as a competitive advantage over other providers who don’t have the patience for such things.
Your True Competitive Knowledge: Who You Are
Who you are: That’s right. While you may assume that your competitive advantage is all about your product or your knowledge of your product, I believe your personality and character and perspective and unique gifts, skills, and abilities are your true competitve advantage.
Unscientific though my research is, I can look around my office and see what serves the successful producers and salespeople. They all inadvertently take advantage of their relationship skills, personality types, and backstories. Ability to relate and be empathetic. Even creed and beliefs, both religious and political.
They don’t manipulate based on their uniqueness. They are authentic and that authenticity results in genuine connection.
Follow your organization’s protocols and processes and standards, but clothe those things with your special flare.
Make sure you can sell a quality product, even if it isn’t unique or exclusive. Makes sure you know your product and industry well, better than anybody else.
But most of all, lean into your own sales voice – your personality, your skills, your perspective. That’s your competitive advantage.
This post was sparked by an off-handed comment by Abel James on Lewis Howes’ School of Greatness Podcast (Transform Your Body, Learn to Eat, and Unplug Your Life).
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