Differentiation Is More Than Your People, Culture & Values

What makes your company special?

Is it your people? Experience? Customer service?

Probably not. Everyone says that about their company.

And if you’re saying the same thing as everyone else, you may as well not be saying anything.

That’s why I caught up with Chala Dincoy, CEO & Founder at The Repositioning Expert, to learn more effective ways to stand out from the crowd.

Chala covered:

  • Why most companies are poorly differentiated
  • The formula for successful differentiation
  • The top 5 mistakes companies make in their messaging

Why companies fail to differentiate themselves

Differentiation is tough.

In fact, 86% of buyers can’t tell the difference between vendors.

That’s a huge number — it’s a problem.

But an even bigger problem is how many companies think they’re successfully differentiated.

And as we mentioned in the introduction, they always describe the same 3 things as their differentiators:

  1. Experience
  2. Customer Service
  3. Their people

This list should make it obvious:

Most companies have no clue what their buyers find different about them, since they are saying the same thing as everyone else.

“Everybody is saying the same thing. And in marketing, when you say the same thing as everybody else, it’s equal to not being heard.”

CHALA DINCOY at The Repositioning Expert

Be honest: Do your competitors really not have experience? Are their people really all puppy-kicking ne’er-do-wells? Does your customer service team get mobbed by adoring fans like a Beatles tour?

I doubt it. But most of the time, companies are in denial.

As a result, they’re having a hard time getting into a meeting with a buyer. Which again, comes down to nothing setting them apart from anyone else vying for the buyer’s time.

If you want a meeting, you need to capture someone’s attention.

And your experience, customer service and people just aren’t cutting it.

How to stand out from the crowd

Your buyer doesn’t care about you. They’ve got their own problems to deal with.

And that’s the key to differentiating.

70% of humans buy based on pain. So, if your messaging is all about you, then you’ve already lost them.

What makes you different is what pain you can alleviate for the customer — the more specific, the better.

In order to differentiate, you need to strategically carve a niche for yourself centered around one facet of one expensive problem your customer faces.

So, you need to know the buyers you are targeting pretty well and tailor your messaging to them.

“In order to be relevant, you have to consider niching down to a specific target and what their most costly pain is today.”

CHALA DINCOY at The Repositioning Expert

As for the messaging, Chala has a formula for this that works particularly well:

Who you help + the pain you solve + how you solve it (bonus points if this is branded) = success.

So, say you sell bowling pins. Since the pandemic has shuttered bowling alleys, you’ve identified clown colleges as your target market. Your buyer’s biggest pain point is head injuries in juggling classes.

Your messaging might look something like this:

Did you know 85% of aspiring clowns sustain a concussion before finishing Juggling 101? Well, our Advanced Safety-Pin technology cuts head-injuries in half, keeping your students in class and out of tiny ambulances.

Okay, that last clause could probably be tightened, but you get the picture.

Focus on your buyer’s unique pain and you’ll become a unique solution they will remember.

The top 5 differentiation mistakes companies make

In the process of trying to set themselves apart, most companies encounter the same pitfalls.

Luckily, Chala outlined them for you so you can avoid making them yourself.

The top 5 biggest differentiation mistakes companies make are:

1. There is no focus target

You need to figure out your target in order to take advantage of the concentration of your buyers congregating in 2 ways: through industry or through interest groups.

“Industry “is obviously whatever industry in which you work. It covers things like publications or LinkedIn Groups where buyers within the industry self-gather. Interest groups are places outside the industry where you are likely to find your focus target congregating.

2. Having no specialty

As mentioned, if you want to set yourself apart, you need to have a niche. What do you do best?

3. Not having a pain-based message

We’ve gone over this, but it’s worth repeating. Your buyer doesn’t care about you, they care about their pain.

4. Selfish selling

Stop talking about yourself. Your buyer wants to know how you can help them specifically, not how many offices or awards you have.

“For 18 years, I watched companies come in to try to sell to me for the hour that I gave them out of my busy time and talk about nothing but themselves.”

CHALA DINCOY at The Repositioning Expert

5. Having no visibility around the niche.

This one is very much tied in with having a focus target. You need to be using your focus target in your marketing to talk about how you solve problems within your niche.

Why are you the go-to people for that solution? How have you solved other people’s pain within the same niche?

If you avoid these common pitfalls and follow Chala’s advice, you should be well on your way to standing out from your competitors when your customers find themselves wanting to buy.

This blogpost includes highlights of our podcast interview with Chala Dincoy, CEO & Founder at The Repositioning Expert

Subscribe to hear this episode and many more like it. For the entire interview, you can listen to The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.

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