As we are just kicking into the new year, a lot of people are rethinking how they are going to do their selling and marketing in 2018.
That’s a great thing.
But just thinking about doing things differently isn’t going to be enough.
Because for many of us that are in revenue generating roles, the biggest challenge we are dealing with is “The Differentiation Gap.”
For those of you new to the idea, “The Differentiation Gap” is the idea that for many businesses there is a huge gap between how they view themselves and their unique selling proposition and the way that the market sees them and their value proposition.
If “The Differentiation Gap” is wide, you don’t have a great deal of differentiation and you are likely in or close to the realm of commodity.
Being a commodity is a terrible position to find yourself in for any number of reasons including price sensitivity, lack of customer loyalty, and inability to pick and choose projects to work on.
On the other hand if “The Differentiation Gap” is narrow, you have differentiated yourself tremendously.
The less a gap exists between how you view yourself and how the market views you creates the environment where you can charge higher prices, where you might be a sole source provider, and where you can pick and choose the people and projects you work on.
The question for many of us is how can we close “The Differentiation Gap” and benefit from a stronger reputation in our markets?
Here’s a few ideas:
Create Intellectual Property:
We all hear about content marketing as a catch-all for every bad impulse many organizations and marketers have to spam their audiences and their markets with irrelevant, useless “information” that is supposed to drive people to buy from us, “engage”, or some other buzzy word.
In creating real, meaningful IP that can differentiate you from your competition, you need to do a couple of things:
- Think about content creation and IP through the eyes of your market. What’s going to be meaningful to them? What challenges are they dealing with?
- Understand that different buyers and influencers are going to consume information differently. So even if you have great content and IP that you are sharing, but you are only sharing it on Twitter and your audience doesn’t Tweet…well, you have a problem.
So you need to create real, thoughtful IP that focuses on problems and challenges your market is dealing with and reaches your intended audience where they are likely to see it.
Focus On Outcomes In Your Marketing And Selling:
I hear a popular refrain when I talk with marketers and seller.
“Our market is just too price sensitive.”
You know what?
It isn’t really about price, it is about value.
Does anyone have an iPhone X?
I’m guaranteeing that you didn’t buy that phone because of the price.
You bought the phone despite price because it was valuable enough to you to make price not become a factor.
Your job is to explain your value proposition in a way that is like the iPhone X where price sensitivity isn’t an issue any longer.
You do that by focusing on outcomes, on improvement, on value.
Instead of talking about all the ways you are similar to your competition, talk about how you create results that are different.
In my case, I’m not even sure who my competition is sometimes because I am so focused on the value I create for my audience that I am often in a market of one.
You want me, not some generic service provider.
Are you in the same position?
If you aren’t, “The Differentiation Gap” is far too wide and you are creeping into commodity.
Outcome-based marketing and selling can help you close “The Differentiation Gap” so that you are more highly valued.
Brands are living, breathing things.
The brand and value you offer today should continue to grow and expand.
One way for you to fight “The Differentiation Gap” is to always keep growing.
You should be having new ideas.
You should have new perspectives.
You should have new experiences.
You should have new techniques that you use to accelerate the success of your clients.
These are all ways that you can insulate yourself from falling prey to “The Differentiation Gap.”
Growth doesn’t have to be difficult either.
In most cases, it is simply paying attention to what you are learning, patterns you see, and successes that you generate.
The difficult thing is often making sure that you spend time paying attention to what you are learning, how it applies, how it changes things, and where you can use it to create new value.
If you spend some time focusing on your ideas, using those ideas to share unique perspectives in your market, and do some constant growth activities, the likelihood of you getting caught in the commodity trap goes down.
The ultimate goal is to eliminate “The Differentiation Gap” all together by focusing on making you one of a kind and someone that has a name of your own to your market.