We Want to be Different – Not a Commodity! Five Important Steps

Situation:  The Company has had success with a few large clients but wants to expand their customer base for long-term growth. How do they differentiate their products in what is perceived as a commodity market?

Advice of the CEOs:

  • One company created differentiation by getting to know everyone in the business – building long term relationships, based on reputation and trust.
    • They spent time up front understanding the needs of customers that they wanted to develop.
    • As opportunities arose, they built relationships and asked questions to clearly define client needs.
    • While it takes time and patience, the objective is to be able to say “We know your business” – with credibility.
  • The steps:
    • Study the business, sector, and customers that you wish to serve.
    • Leverage the success that you have had with large customers. Talk about how you helped subunits within your large customers. This makes a big customer seem more like a collection of small customers similar to your prospects and makes your experience relevant.
    • Let prospective customers know, when appropriate to the situation, that you are hungry and will go the extra mile for their business. Simply out-serve your competition.
    • Learn who currently serves your prospective clientele. Study these competitors, their strengths and weaknesses. Talk to their customers – learn what they love about competitors’ service, and what they would like to see changed. Find the holes in what they provide and fill these holes with a better offer.
    • Look for and encourage repeat business and references to new business.

Key Words: Commodity, Differentiation, Sales, Marketing, Business Development, Customer Needs, Competition

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