We have all seen the differentiators that are not exciting. How you determine your differentiation is one of the toughest things you will do. It is determined by who you want your firm to be and simply put, profitable is not a good differentiator. This is where your process can stand out. This is where your experience needs to stand out. This is where your values belong. No one is motivated to do work for you or do business with you when your differentiator is, “We are the best!”

Who are we?
Get your team in a room and begin with the simple things that describe your business, process, team, and approach. If you are the BEST then be able to say WHY. If you can’t say why, then no one can convey it or understand it. It is alright to define who you want to be, but get it out on a board or paper so everyone can reflect on it. When you can say who you are, you will find your differentiation.

Messaging made simple
Once the descriptions are out on the board or paper, it is time to evaluate for importance. What is the same as everyone else and what is different? It is okay to ask some outsiders, preferably clients and consultants. Listing that you have in-house legal or that you are the CEO is not a differentiator. After you prioritize and eliminate non-essential, turn to simplicity. The easier the words are, the easier it is for someone to say, retain and understand. Make it simple. Words are easy to refine and avoid more syllables. Just because it is a big word, does not mean that it is a good word. Turn it into a simple sentence or acronym. K.I.S.S.

Different is Different
I mentioned before some things that are not differentiators. Everyone has a management team. Everyone excels. Everyone has some form of IT and everyone has a unique CEO (some more unique than others). You have to look at your list and really ask what is different about us. If you do not have differentiation, then you are already a commodity. You can change this, sit down and determine what you want to be. Do you want to be the community supporter? Do you want to emphasize the expertise your team brings to the table? Make sure you dig into your processes, your corporate culture and remember for it to be a differentiator, it must be different.

Five Differentiator Takeaways:

  1. Spell out who you are
  2. Define your processes, culture, and expertise
  3. Good messaging is simple to say, retain and understand
  4. Make sure you focus on the things that are truly different
  5. Bring your team into the discussion; they are a huge part of the process

About S.J.Hemley Marketing
S.J.Hemley Marketing is a marketing and sales consulting firm focused on driving tangible results for professional services firms. Brand matters, but not without ROI. With over 20 years of sales and marketing experience within staffing and recruiting, we have helped to drive successful branding, sales training, lead generation activities as well as defining marketing strategy for top organizations.