Differentiation/competitive advantage

Written by Roger Bostdorff | | news@toledofreepress.com

Recently I was presenting to a National Association’s Annual Conference near Las Vegas. The presentation was entitled, “Selling in a Tough Economy.” This presentation discussed the status quo of our economy and then described why some marketing representatives (fancy word for salesman) and companies, inspite of the challenging times, are successful and others are not!

One of the focal points of the presentation was the need to differentiate. One of the points we discussed is that if your differentiation is only price then get ready to start losing margin. Unless you are Walmart and have the economies of scale to have the lowest costs for your products, you need to be able to differentiate your product or services from the competition by some other means than price.

I have talked to many customers and worked with them in regards to doing a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) Analysis. When we discuss their strengths, many times I get things like Customer Service, Quality, and Responsiveness. These are all excellent qualities of a company’s product or service. However, can you envision my client’s competitors suggesting that they provide bad Customer Service, Quality and Responsiveness as compared to my client, of course not? The question is how do you differentiate? What are your competitive advantages? How do you substantiate your claims?

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