In our exceptionally crowded marketplace, one essential element is the need for differentiation. It is vital to your company’s success and critical for business survival. Unfortunately, many are so arrogant they’d rather believe their business is so “one-of-a-kind” and unique that if they want what we offer, then they have to do business with us!

There are over 7 billion people in the world with tens of millions of businesses. Most of developed society is using Social Media, so it’s very unlikely that your business is: “in a class by itself, matchless, unequaled, unique, uncommon or unrivaled.”

There probably aren’t more than a few hundred businesses that can really say they are unrivaled or matchless. Because of this, we must establish a concrete Differentiation, disconnecting us in some way from our competition, so we can make a claim of “special.”

All too often, disaster restoration companies, both independents and franchises alike use similar equipment to dry buildings, or remove smoke odor and soot, or clean up mold.  Long gone are the days where you can claim to be “the only one…”  It takes a lot of thought to create your differentiation!

Candidly, this means you have to constantly “re-invent” your company, always conscious of what might differentiate your business from the others and then you must promote that differentiation!  Even though you will be challenged to be completely unique or unprecedented – it is possible. There may be one or two others in your market that offer a remarkably similar product or service, but you can still take an aggressive approach to differentiation by developing a package of services that only apply to your firm (at least for a while).

When political leaders repeat their mantra, people start to say it and actually believe it. Often, people fall hard for the candidate that is the most eloquent and vocal. I’m most certainly NOT suggesting dishonesty or supporting false statements. What I am suggesting is even when other companies in your market do “similar” things, (such as mitigation only), you can become known as the Mitigation Only specialist by continually promoting that theme.  Advertise it – explain it – market it, and it becomes yours because you have claimed it as yours.  For a while it gives you an edge, until they start to copy you. Then change it up again.

Where a similar service is provided in the marketplace by many service providers, what you have to offer has to be vastly different compared to competitor services. Differentiation helps to sustain as well as grow market share and the strategies to differentiate your offerings have to be simple – without requiring significant changes to the existing process.

A great way to present yourself differently is to use several of the Social Media sites to tell your story. . Traditionally, long established “brick-and-mortar” businesses spent years and millions of dollars building their brands and ruled their industry segments – perhaps rightfully so. Today, however, the web has afforded you an exceptional platform to promote your business and market those services and create uniqueness.

Here are twelve examples of words to avoid at all costs in your positioning and differentiating your services. (This is only a sample of what not to use). Please don’t use them for your differentiation, they are overworked, disregarded, and generally not believed: Advanced, Best, Cutting-edge, Dedicated, Fastest, One-of-a-kind, Partner, Solution, State-of-the-art, Unparalleled, Unsurpassed, and Value.

One great way to find out what makes you different is to ask your prospects and customers since they are the ones seeing “who you really are!” This can also be a great way to make your customers feel involved in your operation and let them know that you are open to their input and willing to improve your service to them.

Author:  Dick Wagner & Beth Hinton