If lackof differentiation is the most common marketing challenge for professionals, why is differentiation so important?
Beyond Overworked and Underpaid
In a nutshell, it will help you develop your own unique niche within your area of
With your own unique niche, you position yourself to continue to thrive and ultimately succeed in meeting … or even better … exceeding your goals.
Without a unique niche, many service professionals default trying to be all things to all people.
Very early in the lawyer-stage of my career, I made the decision to leave a small general practice to create my own law firm. I wanted to focus on serving owners of small businesses, including self-employed professionals.
Despite the cynicism and outright badmouthing of other lawyers in the area, my one-person law practice was a huge success. Not only did I love the work that I was doing, my personal income exceeded my expectations and there was enough flexibility to enjoy life outside the practice.
When I sold my practice to move on to other things, my successor defaulted back to the local norm of being all things to all people.
The last time I heard about him, he had also defaulted to tiresome refrain of being overworked and underpaid.
If that’s what you want from your service business, don’t bother putting the time and energy into differentiating yourself and your services.
Stand Out From the Crowd
Differentiation will separate you from that noisy crowd of competitors who are also chasing your potentially ideal clients.
If nothing else, standing out from the crowd will make it easier for your audience to hear your message.
If you’ve never really thought about the concept of standing out from the crowd, here are 10 quick tips to get you started:
1. Be responsive.
This means doing what you say you will do…when you say you will do it.
2. Be self-assured.
When you truly believe in yourself and how you help clients, that confidence
will help distinguish you from the competition.
3. Listen carefully. When we truly listen, we can better understand what is being said. This will help you consistently stand out in any crowd.
4. Live your core values. Personal values and beliefs represent the essential elements of personal branding. Demonstrate your core values in everything that you do as a service professional.
5. Know your why. What is your purpose in doing what you do? How effectively do you live your purpose? Ideal clients are usually attracted to service professionals who know and live their why.
6. Be an expert. The absolute best personal branding for service professionals requires become a master at your craft. This includes being competent at what you do, continuously improving your skills and how you serve clients.
7. Focus on clients and others. When meeting with potential clients or network contacts, focus on them and their interests. Typically, strangers don’t care about us until they know how much we care about them.
8. Treat everyone with respect. Too many professionals respect only to others whom they believe can help them. By treating everyone as important and interesting, you can attract more ideal clients and referral sources.
9. Be willing to collaborate. Instead of making everything about you, help others look and sound good. When we collaborate well, others remember how we made them feel--and when people feel good around you, you stand out.
10. Be authentic. Align your business and marketing activities with your true authentic self. There is no better way of attracting more ideal clients than by standing out from the crowd with personal branding for service professionals.
As strategically important as it is to stand out from the crowd, in and of itself, it does not automatically result in clients choosing you.
Differentiation also helps businesses develop a competitive advantage and define compelling reason for potential clients choosing them instead of the competition.
For purposes of attracting clients, a compelling reason is the exact opposite of most online content.
Such a reason generates any or all of acute admiration, attention, or respect.
Individually or in combination with the others, these are powerful factors in attracting new clients.
Developing a powerful rationale for clients to choose you instead of the competition is neither creative fiction, nor is it advertising spin.
Without a compelling reason to buy, potentially ideal clients are on their own trying to make sense of your service and how it can help them understand how your solution can make a positive impact on their day-to-day life.
With a sound and honest compelling reason for choosing you, potential clients will ignore the crowded field of competitors shouting for attention.
Differentiation also creates brand loyalty among your clients.
The same branding strategy that helps increase your market share also helps create client loyalty.
As a significant source of repeat and referral business, client loyalty helps
improve sales, increase profits and support sustainable growth and ongoing success.
Even though I prefer to organize content in some seemingly logical manner, the four reasons that differentiation is important are listed in random order.
This approach offers the opportunity for you to draw your own value from whatever you may have learned from the above content.
Here’s how you can do just that.
1. Using your own criteria, prioritize the above four sections (Beyond Overworked … to and including Client Loyalty) in order of importance to you.
Assign #1 to the section that is most important; #4 to the section that is least important.
2. What is one thing that you can do to take immediate and constructive action on priority #1?
If you’re stuck or would like more information about differentiation, check out How
Personal Branding Generates More New Business.
Chances are good to excellent that you will find something of value there.
If not, ask me…maybe I can help.