Saturday, September 30, 2017

"Separating Ourselves From The Pack"

Have we ever taken the time to ask what makes us so special - to our clients, our strategic partners, the marketplace in general? What do we have to offer that makes us appealing? Even better, what do we provide that is totally unique that no other company can claim as their own?

If we can't readily think of anything that really separates, sets us apart, or differentiates us from the competition - something that gives the consumer a compelling reason to use us - or if we have to work really hard to come up with something, how do we expect that our potential consumers are going to be able to do so?

To be successful in business, we have to make a name for ourselves, and we have to be sufficiently different from our competition and the others who say they do what we do in order to give consumers a reason to use us.

Because there are a lot of companies and individuals offering remodeling or design services - even if some of them are not as skilled as we are in providing aging in place solutions - our potential customer may not appreciate how we are different from the others. We'll start with our CAPS training, but that will only start the conversation with them.

Customers want results and may select the lowest price or the quickest solution from someone who offers a solution reasonably close to what they think they want - or perhaps what they are convinced they need - without really understanding that we may offer a much more strategic approach to meeting their needs.

Even when there are other aging in place specialists competing for a particular customer's attention, there still needs to be something that makes us different in the eyes of the consumer and within the marketplace. Otherwise, there is no overriding reason why someone should choose to work with us over another company or provider. In essence, any company would be just as good as any other.

Since that likely isn't true, how do we intentionally set ourselves apart from the crowd? Let's start by looking at our vision. Are we conveying our real purpose and passion to our potential customers? Do we have any special credentials other than our CAPS credentials that help to distinguish us from others in our marketplace? Is it the length of time we've been in business, the number of clients served, the number of successful solutions created, or our history that makes us special and sets us apart from others in our market that offer similar services?

Whatever it is that truly makes us so special when compared to others who offer similar services as we do (or claim that they do), determine what it is and then begin conveying our message to our potential customers through our marketing message, website, social media profiles and posts, and our presentations. Don't rely on your customers to try to figure out why we are special or to somehow know what we do about our business without helping them to see this.

Also, we shouldn't rely on words or phrases as defining terms (slogans or taglines) that our competition can also use. We may know what you mean when we say that we create value or provide quality work, but virtually anyone else (even people from other industries) can say essentially the same thing. Such claims do not offer the separation we are looking for when compared with our competition. Look for a truly special way of expressing just what makes us special and makes our potential customer want to select us for that reason. 

After someone engages us and has us create a solution for them, there will be no question that they chose wisely. It's getting them to understand this before they work with us so they will be so inclined to use us.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging In Place Specialist - Master Instructor and best-selling author of aging in place books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.