By Earl Bell

Almost every consultant or business owner I know likes to think of themself as being truly unique in their ability to provide great value to clients and customers.  The question I like to ask as a challenge to this thinking is “So what exactly makes you different than others who profess to offer the same service or product?”  In other words “Please explain to me why you are NOT a commodity?”

If you cannot answer this question clearly and with great conviction, how in the world are your customers supposed to figure it out?  And if this is the case, you probably are perceived to be like everyone else and compete based on price, which makes you… a commodity.  The problems with this business model are: (1) it is hard to differentiate regardless of the value delivered and (2) you are leaving a lot of money on the table for others to take.  If this sounds like you, I’ll bet profit margin is low… assuming your company is profitable.

Perhaps you want rebut my challenge by saying something like “We differentiate by offering the best customer service!” Well, recognize that every services company says this to be true.  So who is right – you or your competitor?  Does it matter?  Does anyone believe this kind of claim anymore?

So what is the trick to NOT being perceived as a commodity?  One very important thing you can do is to make sure customers experience a wow factor when buying from your company.  I talk about COSTCO all the time – in a very positive way – to anyone and everyone that will listen.  When customers proactively tell others WHY they buy from your company, then you can start to differentiate based on what OTHERS are saying about you.  This is powerful stuff…

Here is my challenge to each of you… Begin by focusing on delivering an awesome customer experience – make it easy for customers to tell other potential buyers why your company delivers great value – you’ll soon find your company separating from the rest of the pack – and you will begin the process of dramatically increasing value in your company.

BIO – Earl Bell’s mission is to help business owners dramatically increase value in their company.  As a long-time executive, he has learned what works and doesn’t work in organizations and is passionate about sharing valuable and important lessons he has learned in the business world and boardroom.  As a long-time youth sports coach, he enjoys being a leader others want to follow, and building teams comprised of individuals that contribute in very inspiring ways.  He is currently writing a book “Baseball to Business” that incorporates his experience into a guide for owners and CEO’s.                                                           

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