Today, let’s talk about having competitive advantages and how they can help your business.
I was coaching a freelance graphic designer. When we first met, she complained about all the difficulties she has working as a freelancer. She has loyal clients who have been with her for many years. But, the business is extremely cyclical and her clients often resist any price increase. So, after working with some clients for years, she still could not increase her pricing and could only rely on contracts after contracts.
I asked her: “Why can’t you increase your pricing, especially since your clients have been with you for many years?”
She said: “There are so many graphic designers and I’m just afraid that they might leave me for another graphic designer. The industry is just so competitive.”
This problem is not only limited to small clients. In fact, regardless who you are – you are likely to be facing the same problem.
One of this graphic designer’s main problems is not having a clear competitive advantage.
If you do not have clear competitive advantage, you are likely to always feel pressured by your client. It will always be hard to charge premium pricing for your services. It will also be harder to establish a long term relationship.
But – how do I establish a competitive advantage, especially since I don’t seem to have one?
There are several strategies you can use in your business:
- Company size: If you are a big company, highlight the importance of being an established business. On the other hand, if you are a smaller company, focus on being nimble and quick to respond to industry changes.
- Features or services provided: If you provide a wide range of services, you offer a one stop solution to simplify your client’s life. If you only offer specific services, highlight your areas of expertise.
- Technology you use: Many people often overlook the technology they use and how it could be an advantage to their business. Is there any technology you use that can be easily integrated with your client’s technology? Or, does your technology provide any transparency to your clients?
- Your process: This is another competitive advantage that people often overlook. How do you communicate your work in progress to your clients? How do you work with your client? How do you establish the objectives of the projects with your clients? These could set you apart from your competitors.
- Target marker: Do you have a specific target market you focus on and have had lots of experience in? Talk about the unique challenges facing the target market and that you are the go-to person if they want to succeed in this market.
- Partnership: Is there anyone you can partner with to boost your competitive advantages? If you are a PR agent, can you work closely with certain medias?
- Financial positions: Your financial positions can also become your competitive advantages. Can you offer a better payment terms because of your low overhead cost?
- Market Share or your current clients: Do you have a large market share within a certain industry? Use this as your competitive advantage. Leverage the reputations of your existing clients as your competitor advantage by saying “I am the designer for _____.” On the other hand, if you have a smaller market share in the industry, talk about the advantages of working with you i.e. there would be no conflict of interests working with you, since you do not work with their competitors.
Look at your business, whatever you feel might be a disadvantage to you – be ready to make it an advantage to you.
For example, if you are a small business owner, being small might seem like a disadvantage when you go up against a big company. But be prepared to talk about the personal services you will provide, as opposed to the impersonal service some other, bigger, competitors might offer. You might also emphasize the fact that you are the owner, which means that you will always be there for them. I always love to tell my clients: “I am NOT going anywhere.” Having a stable contact person for the business is usually a plus for the client.
So, it is time to discover your competitive advantages to boost your sales.
After all, we are all unique in our own ways.
As always, let me know how you are doing. I love hearing from you.
Let’s go get more big sales.