As competition increases, evolve your Point of Difference
25th Feb , 2016
We are all challenged by competition for our customers’ business and most face increasing competitive pressure in their business sector.
To grasp needed growth or just to survive in highly competitive areas is tough. To thrive against the competition you need to adapt your business and improve in critical areas such as:
- Sales, customer service,
- Operational efficiency,
- Investing and motivating your people to focus on what is critical
- And minimising waste and unnecessary costs.
These are all vitally important, but another strategic aspect that is often overlooked is increasing your business’s Point of Difference.
To bolster the Point of Difference all business owners and senior management must figure out how best to differentiate their products or services for their customers.
What do the customers really want?
The first vital Point of Difference step is to understand what your customers really want. Fast and practical research is needed, so that you can enhance what you provide, and the way that you deliver to your customers.
Approaches to finding out what your customers want?Market research
- Market research
- What your customers’ want
- Independent surveys are good if focused and representative.
- Ring the major customers and talk to them directly yourself.
- Research what your competitors’ are offering.
- You will need to find the market gaps from the above analyses in the market and exploit these.
- Environmental analysis
- SWOT analysis – to help identify perceived and prospective areas of potential advantage.
- Listen broadly to all feedback from customers, colleagues and staff – their input is extremely valuable
- Environmental analysis
- New Gaps in the market and enhanced Points of Difference need to be embraced and this needs real change to you and the organisation, and not just “lip service” for success.
- So you will need to be receptive to new ideas and change (and not get bogged down by preconceived ideas or thinking or by an overly rigid organisation.)
Actively consider your competitive advantage:
Products and services
Have you got the right offering that the customers want? Can you move your offering towards what they really want? Can you tell them you are adapting to their needs. Can you give the customers a road map of what you are willing to do for them, given their feedback to you of what they want?
- Can you deliver your products or services for less? Should you?
- Can you find a cheaper or more efficient way of delivering your products and services?
- Can you provide a better service to your customers?
- Do you know what constitutes good service in their minds.
- Do you know which customers are prepared to pay extra for better service or will remain loyal to you as a result?
- This is very important, as you will be pricing against competitors.
Maintain high quality standards
- How to you ensure consistent and high quality of products or services?
- Have you got systems and processes in place to ensure delivery of quality?
- Have you got people that understand quality and its importance to your customers?
- Have you got customers that actually give you great feedback on quality? Or do they just leave when let down and go to a competitor?
Ease for your customers to deal with your business
- Do the customers find it easy and convenient to deal with your business?
- Is there any better ways for customers to obtain your products or services from you?
- Are your systems and processes easy to use by your customers?
- Are your people customer-friendly and follow up with the customers? How do you know this- independently of your own people?
- Is your brand doing its job with customers?
- Are you building a brand that customers can identify with, and trust and has a value to the business?
- Do you have brand confusion in the market?
- Is your brand adapting with the services, products and customers as these change?
- Is your business and people innovative and capable of creating new thoughts around customers, products, services, new ways of doing things, brand, quality, service, motivation, profitability, cashflow improvements, advertising, social media use and anticipating needed or real shifts or changes in any of the above?
- Do you brainstorm after research and think differently and question what change you need ahead of your competitors?
Seek new business with your Point of Difference and keep the customers you want to keep
- Your Point of Difference is embedded in all aspects of the business, so once you are on top of this then use the Point of Difference to attract new customers and leverage them away from your competitors. Then use an evolving point of difference to make your customers loyal and look after them in the way they want to be treated with the products and services they want and are prepared to pay for at a price that makes commercial sense to your business.
- Seeking out new business is a must but not at the expense of losing your current customers. Priority should be given to continue building strong relationships with your existing customers.
International Business Mentors can help your Point of Difference
Our Point of Difference is that our International Business Mentors are individually matched to you and your requirements. That means they come with the experience and ability to compliment your own strengths and help you develop your own Point of Difference.
Our mentors can help you in specific areas, where you need a second set of eyes on things. You will also receive the support you deserve from your own confidential and private International Business Mentor.
Chris Cartney, General Manager, International Business Mentors Nov 2014.