Posts Tagged ‘competition’

What Makes You Stand Out ?

When I deal with the sales team of any organization, there is one specific question I like to ask that will tell me how skilled the salesperson is and how good their sales training has been. I ask the question in a private setting, just the two of us. Here is the question:

“I have spoken to your top three competitors and they have told me

why I should do business with them.

I would like to know why I should do business with you.

I want you to give me a two minute commercial on what makes

your company better than your competitors.”

You would be amazed how many times I get AWFUL answers to that question. I think it would be advisable for all companies to spend some time thinking about and answering the following questions:

  • What’s Your Competitive Advantage?
  • What Are Several Ways Your Customer Service Stands Out?
  • Are There Ways You Can Sell Value Instead of Selling Price?
  • What Makes You Special?
  • What Will Make Your Clients Tell Their Friends About You?
  • How Can You Deliver More Than You Promised Your Client?
  • Is There Anything You Do Better Than Your Competition?

You can take those 7 questions and roll them all into one: What differentiates you from your competitors? For example: There is a financial planner who has each client’s car detailed while he is conducting their annual review. There is a realtor who has an enormous lunch delivered to her clients when they move into the house they bought from her on their move-in date. There is a remodeling contractor who has his employees clean up the worksite every day to show the respect they have for the client’s home. He gives out a giant “ShopVac” to each client when he is done with the job, to reinforce that message. Would a plumber who put booties over his shoes before entering your house impress you? It sure impressed me. What could you do that would make you “stand out” from your competition?

Zebra - Stand Out

SETBACKS

The great writer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, once wrote, “There are no second acts in American lives.” Nothing could be further from the truth. There are countless stories of people (and companies) having second, third and even fourth acts. Okay, so things didn’t work out the way you had planned, or you failed miserably, or, or, or … I could go on and on with examples of things that have caused people pain, heartache or money. But no matter what occurred, they then had a decision to make … move on or give up. Sometimes moving on is a whole lot easier being said, than done … but it is truly your only option if you want to be successful. 

When bad things happen, I simply define them as SETBACKS. Setbacks come in many forms, but they all take a toll on us in one way or another. Setbacks can be caused by us, by other people, by nature, or by poor health that we did or didn’t have anything to do with. Today, I am not going to get into why the setback occurred, but I would like to address what you should consider doing next. In my opinion, this one point has everything to do with you succeeding or failing in life.

One man decided to climb a mountain that no one ever had made it to the top. Fifteen people before him had died attempting to conquer this 29,028 foot high beast. The first time he failed miserably, but the next year he tried again and succeeded. I guess we should introduce Mr. Fitzgerald to Sir Edmund Hillary; the first man to climb Mt. Everest. But, how about attempting something totally absurd, where 756 men who attempted it, all died. Admiral Robert Peary wanted to stand at the top of the world, the North Pole, and he finally did it on his 8th attempt.

But, these people put themselves in harm’s way, attempting what seemed to all, to be impossible; they caused their own misery. How do you deal with setbacks that you had nothing to do with? U.S. Triathlon Champion, Karen Smyers, had more setbacks thrown at her on her journey to the championship then any human should ever have to endure. A storm window broke-out in a severe storm and sliced her hamstring requiring and operation to repair it. Then she got struck by an eighteen-wheel truck that broke six ribs along with giving her a lung contusion and shoulder separation. But we aren’t done yet. She took a terrible spill on a bicycle and broke her collar-bone. All of those injuries seemed small compared to her then getting diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which required six hours of surgery to remove the tumors. Unfortunately, they didn’t get it all and she had to have a second operation to remove the remaining cancer.  I would call that quite a list of setbacks, but she never gave up.

I would like to refer you to the profound words of former President Calvin Coolidge who said: “Press on. Nothing can take the place of perseverance. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan, ‘press on’ has solved, always will solve, the problems of the human race.”  If I leave you with anything today, it is for you to consider taking advantage of something that no scientist has ever found, but we all know exists: the amazing power of the Human Spirit.

BAD things are going to happen to all of us, but our success rests on what we do next. You might have to step back, regroup, and heal, while you are regaining your spirit and strength. But, just say to yourself, BAD stands for “Begin Again Determined”. You see…

Winners Look at a Setback as the

Starting Point to Their Comeback

COZY KILLS COMPANIES

I received an enormous response on the article I wrote last month about “Only Paranoids Survive.” So, I’ve decided to go a little further on the subject. As you might recall, I based it on the quote by former CEO of Intel, Andy Grove, who once said …

“Only the paranoid survive. Paranoids believe someone or some force is out to get them.”

I don’t care how big or how little your company is, it won’t survive if you become complacent. How many of the Top 10 Employers in the United States that existed in 1960 are still in the Top 10 today? None! Prominent names like General Motors, U.S. Steel, Ford, Bethlehem Steel, CBS and General Dynamics have all fallen off the list. But, sometimes it is tough to get management to see that changes need to be made. Occasionally, a little trickery might help to make your point. Example:

Years ago Mercedes engineers were lobbying management for “ZIPPIER” engines but couldn’t get anyone to see the need. The COZY attitude of “They were Mercedes” … the best of the best … the leader” … was pervasive throughout the company. So, the engineers disappeared with a Benz sedan for a few days and returned with the hood chained shut.

They brought management in to listen to the new engine they said was more powerful and “ZIPPIER” than anything they had ever built. A few of the top executives raced the car up and down the autobahn and even drove it up into the Alps. They really liked the increased performance and couldn’t wait to rush back to see what great advances were under the hood. The engineers unshackled the hood to reveal a BMW engine. Management then decided it was time to revamp their motors.

Feeling COZY in business is deadly. Don’t you ever forget someone is always after your market share and is willing to do new and different things to get it. If I told you that right now, your competition is in a meeting, figuring out your weak points and devising a plan to attack you in your most vulnerable points … what would you do about it?

WHAT CHANGES NEED TO BE MADE TO THE ENGINE DRIVING YOUR BUSINESS?

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