Beyond “What We Do”: How to Stand Out

I was talking with a practice owner the other day and asked her, “What do you do?”

What she answered was basically the same as what everybody else does.

So, I rephrased the question and asked, “What do you do differently?”

She immediately gave me a different answer, a great answer. She knew very well what her practice did differently from any of the others in the area.

This “differently” part is the thing that attracts your favorite customers. It is the thing that attracts your next great employee. It is the thing that sets you apart. Without it you are the same as everyone else.

When you are the same as everyone else then why buy from you? If you’re the same as everyone else, people look only at price. And when you compete on price it is a race to the bottom. Not only that, but you are strapped for resources. You are stressed out. You are worried about volume and making ends meet. Where is the time and energy to focus on your customer?

Cheapest is not best. Sometimes people can’t get their heads around a “cheap” price anyway. They think something is wrong. I know that’s not what we’re taught but think about your own purchases.

If you see a brand new smart phone come on the market and it’s only $200, what is your first thought?  The iPhone 15 and the Samsung Galaxy S24 both start at $799. So is your first thought… “That’s a great deal! I ought to check it out. I bet it’s a great phone.”? Or is it more like, “I wonder what’s wrong with it.”?

I recently saw a young artist on TikTok sharing this same lesson. Her friend told her that if she offered to do a mural for $200 nobody would hire her. Her friend pointed out that the people deciding on the purchase were probably sitting in chairs that cost $10k. So, the artist instead put out a bid for $10,000. And she got the job.

Take a moment to think about the time, resources, and focus the $10,000 affords the artist to work on the mural. She’s not strapped for resources. She doesn’t have to rush. She can use better product. The customers will get a better mural.

Being cheapest is not always the best strategy. In a “small” business, in the 99.6% of all businesses that are under $10 Million, it is almost never the best strategy.

So, aside from being the cheapest, ask the question why should I use your services or buy your product?

And the next time someone asks, “What do you do?” make sure you answer the question “What do you do differently?”

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