As I've traveled around the country giving keynote speeches the past 27 years, I've been amazed to find that many salespeople do not know and cannot articulate their competitive advantage to their prospects and customers! How can they expect their prospects and customers to give them their time and attention when they cannot tell them in a concise way what they can do for them that no one else can do?
How can you demonstrate your competitive advantage? Suppose someone walks up to you at a business conference or social gathering, introduces herself, and asks you what you do for a living. Exactly what would you say? Did you have any trouble? Did you stumble? Do you know what sets you apart from your competitors? If this was hard for you, you’re not alone. If you were to ask the average car dealer, computer store or furniture manufacturer what they do for a living they’ll probably say, “I sell cars, computers or furniture.” But what does every other car, computer or furniture company say? Exactly the same thing!
So what should the businessperson who understands his competitive advantage say? How about this for the car dealer? “My name is Mike from Competitive Motors. We’ve found that there is a lot of confusion in the automotive market today because there have been over 150 new models introduced in just the past three years. We’ve developed a computer book that profiles everything the buyer wants in a car and in less than five minutes, identifies the models most likely to fit their needs.”
Your Statement of Competitive Advantage has four components:
- Your name
- Your company
- A statement about a typical problem experienced in your target market
- An intriguing statement about how you can help solve that problem
The statement of competitive advantage is a 30-second statement of what differentiates your company in the marketplace.
Here’s another example. “My name is Marlene, and I’m owner of the company 'The Prescription for Doctors.’ Physicians today are being pressured by insurers, employers, and patients to cut health care costs. Yet overhead costs for physicians are constantly rising. We provide a service that allows the physician to spend more time with patients and cut overhead costs at the same time, resulting in better quality care at a lower cost. It’s just what the doctor ordered!”
Here’s one last example. “My name is Beth. It’s nice to meet you. I’m with a company called ‘The Greatest Advertising Agency in the World.’ We’ve discovered that almost every successful product has either been the first entry in its category or it has been able to create a new category in the mind of its customers. What we do is help companies launching new products or having trouble with old ones ensure that their product is positioned to win!”
If you clearly know your competitive advantage and can articulate it clearly to prospective customers, you will rise above your competition to make more sales, more profits, and more long-term satisfied customers.