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Why Being Different is an Advantage

If you have kids who will be heading to college soon and you are interviewing financial planners, which response would be more appealing when you ask “why should I work with you?”

  1. We provide great customer service and build a plan customized to your family.

  2. We help families find money for college without sacrificing their current lifestyles or reducing the amount of money they are putting into retirement.

Clearly, most people would pick option #2. However, if you ask most service businesses how they are different, they say something like option #1. Why is there a disconnect?

Most entrepreneurs and service providers struggle with being too many things to too many people. (I know, because I have struggled with this as well.) However, this is the antithesis of being different. You have to be clear who you can NOT help in order to be clear about who you can help.

Without a clear differentiator, you must rely primarily on relationships for new business. And while getting new business by developing good relationships with prospects is a fine way to get customers, it is very limiting. Your opportunity for reaching new clients is limited by how many people you can meet and get to know.

Your Point of Differentiation

To stand out from competitors, you need a point of differentiation. It can be inherent in how you do business or it can be created. The main consideration is to make sure that it matters to your customers. For example, if you are the insurance agent who dresses in all blue, that is not going to help you win customers.

In the example above, Beth Walker, who is a financial planner, has become an expert in helping families figure out how to pay for college as well as figure out which colleges are the right fit. We helped her create the Center for College Solutions. Now, other financial planners refer families with children nearing college age to her.

And that is the power of being different (in a way that matters to clients). Not only is it clear who is a good fit for working with you, even before they ever talk with you directly, other people in your industry start to refer specialized cases to you.

Dare to be different! Just make sure it is in a way that matters to your clients and prospects.

How is Factor Four Different?

We help service companies identify and articulate their differentiators to make their marketing more successful. Our process uses insights from existing clients to help businesses understand what makes them different in meaningful ways to clients and prospects. We use those insights to build an effective marketing plan.

If that sounds interesting to you, let’s schedule a time to talk.

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