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Create A Differential

rainmakershub April 26, 2022

When you get a moment to look up from your spreadsheet, your marketing plan, your sales presentation, your Social media post schedule, and take a look around, you will find a whole bunch of businesses all doing the same thing and focusing on their ‘What’ rather than their ‘Why.’ They are all trying to manipulate their target market with what they do. Some may even gravitate to include how they do what they do.

When you take a good long look at these, you will start to see that all their frenetic activities merge into so much white noise. So much so that it is often difficult for the potential customer to see the difference between them, and so the choice comes down to the best deal financially. This is not always the best deal long term. In many cases, this is a complete turn-off for the potential customer, who may even decide to look for alternate solutions.

When all you talk about is what you do, and that is exactly what many others are doing, saying the same or very similar things, you’re simply adding to the noise. I am sorry to say I think that all manner of financial services is possibly the worst offenders. They always focus on their what and never their why or how! How do you get the potential customer to choose you over the others when this is the case?

The answer in many cases is you find ways to manufacture the decision through some form of manipulation, sad but true! This so-called manipulation very often takes the form of reduced pricing, special offers, discounts, free period, and the list goes on. This may work from time to time, but it comes at a cost and at a risk. The issue is you are creating the expectation that this is the norm, and it certainly shouldn’t be.

You have put all this effort into designing, researching, planning and developing your business; why would you now give it away just to compete with others who are doing it incorrectly?

Far better to stand apart and do it better than them, with more attraction, inspiration and leadership. Contrary to popular belief, while the price may be important, it is not the cheapest that will always get the deal but the one with the best story.

When I use the term story, I am not talking about fairy stories but factual brand-based stories that fully incorporate the most important element of any sale, the motivation to buy. This motivation will come from the story of your ‘Why’ and ‘How’ rather than your ‘What.’

Don’t take my word for it; look at the most successful brands, and you will see that is exactly what they are doing. Try it for yourself and see. You will need to work on it to get the balance right, but hey, it is certainly worth your time and effort. Assuming, of course, you want to stand out from the crowd and be different, for all the right reasons, in all the right ways.

It is the creation of this difference that will give you the edge you need to stand out from the crowd and be the business of true worth to everyone. A business that is changing the world one transaction at a time. A business becomes the vehicle that will be able to achieve your true reason why, while being different enough to grab the attention of your target market and beyond.

So how do you create this differential? Having established our one big ‘Why’, we can begin that process. As you know, after ‘Why’ come the ‘How.’ It is how you do things that are at the epicentre of your differential. There are some basic ingredients that you will need to get the process going; these are:

  • An understanding of what your business does well.
  • An understanding of what the consumer wants.
  • An understanding of what your competition does well.
  • Creative thinking.
  • A plan.
  • Process mapping.

Put all these ingredients together in the right balance, and you will end up with a differential that will help your business to stand out from the crowd, providing, of course, that you couple that action with a consistently high volume of the right activities.

Once you have a good understanding of what it is, your business does particularly well, coupled with an intimate understanding of the consumer in your target market. You will need to focus, in particular, on what they want that you can deliver. Please note that I emphasise what they want rather than what you believe they need. This information gives you a clue as to what your differential might be.

It is, of course, no differential if your competition is also good in the same area. So understanding what your competition is good at is also of great importance to the creation of your differential.

Look at the following diagram, which explains the areas of the Venn diagram that represent the best position for your business. Your mission is to engineer the actions required to get you into the centre of this Venn diagram. To create your differential, you need to have a really good and detailed understanding of the following areas:

  • Your Competition
  • Your target market

The more you know about these two subjects, the easier it becomes for you to create a true differential. This is worth taking some time over as this is a key area and needs to be dovetailed with your vision, mission, values, and of course, be an integral part of your big reasons ‘Why.’

Here’s an experiment you can try. Ask ten businesses that you know what their differential is and determine how many know their competition and how many know their target market. How many have aligned all the elements we have spoken about to create a differential based on true needs and motivations?

If the ten businesses you have spoken to are on this program, the odds are they have spent time on this question and created a differential. If they are not on the program, I would be shocked if two out of the ten are doing this right.