business development process

Why should I choose you?

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Recently, I had an interesting experience on the receiving end of half a dozen pitches from firms offering their services.

In each instance, I asked myself which ones would make good partners for the business, and decent referrals for our client base?

Some talked a lot without asking me any questions or finding out what I was looking for.

Others, when asked why I should choose them over the competition, had no real perception of who the competition were, and how they were better than them.

Nobody gave me a definitive reason as to why they were different from anybody else. Most offered “good service” as the reason why I should choose them, but couldn’t verbalise what “good service” was. One provider even forgot to turn up for our meeting!

What makes you better than everyone else?

My experience is consistent with findings from Julian Midwinter & Associates and ALPMA’s Taking the Pulse research: firms are really struggling to positively differentiate from competitors.

Fewer than half of the respondents (44%) agreed or strongly agreed that their firm is strongly differentiated from the competition.

Comments included: “we are undifferentiated generalists in a crowded market place”; there are “too many firms offering the same services with no remarkable distinction”, making it difficult to “stand apart from the ‘vanilla’”.

How to work out your competitive advantage

With this in mind, please, please, please, sit down with your colleagues and come up with a list of challenges that your professional services help solve. Add to this three reasons why clients should do business with you, rather than someone else. What is your competitive advantage?

You must be able to articulate how your services differentiate from your competitors’ – is it based on your experience, technology, speed of delivery, specialist sector knowledge, value for money, or some other feature?

I cannot stress enough how powerful it is to be able to clearly differentiate yourself from competitors to potential clients. And for those firms who remain undifferentiated generalists, they must expect price competition to become central to their world.

If you need assistance in working out how you are different to the competition, do get in touch.