In a land where there are around 75,000 mitigation and restoration contractors in the US, each performs their work by doing similar services. We all extract water approximately the same way. Fire and Smoke remediation is also very much the same. Even mold abatement is cleaned up using just a handful of processes. How will you be different than your competitor if you all do the clean-up in a similar way?
Even more important than how you perform the remediation, is what do you do (or offer) that separates you from the other competitors in your market? When everyone is removing water from the carpet the same way (using truck-mounts or portables), or Xtreme Xtractors, there’s no real reason to use one company over another. Yes, even the drying processes are also very routine. Everyone seems to use dehu’s, air movers, and sometimes air scrubbers.
If each company in your market confirms with the property owner the way you will dry their property, then there’s no compelling reason they need to use you! The less you are different, the less likely they are to use you. Lots of differences – lots of reasons to hire you. When you all do very similar services, it often comes down to who is the cheapest. If you were buying Heinz Ketchup at one grocery store for $4.00, and it was priced at $2.00 at another store nearby, you’d probably not pay $4.00. Why would you, it’s less.
One important factor in differentiation is whether you are different or unusual enough that prices are suddenly not as big a factor. Think of buying a car… one dealer has the car on his lot with exactly the same features as another dealer does a few miles down the road. And the dealer down the road has the same price, but he’s offering free maintenance for a full 4 years! All things being similar, (and even equal), you’ll likely buy the car from the dealer that has the best freebies.
So many contractors tend to make it about the price, but when they demonstrate how different, unusual, or remarkable they are, suddenly price isn’t much of a factor anymore. The customer’s home is like his ‘castle’ and the company chosen will be the one that offers empathy and shows the homeowner how they (contractor) will give them the white-glove treatment, and truly provide services they won’t or can’t get from the other companies.
We’ve learned that people make purchase decisions based on emotion. When it’s “all about price” it falls into a commodities situation, and then it IS about the price. How you demonstrate empathy, offer special ‘concierge’ services, or are willing to work with the homeowner’s schedule, all of a sudden they quit worrying about the cost. They are focused on your concierge services, a bundle of special things that only your company offers.
Few of us can legitimately state we are unparalleled or unique. We need to launch solid Differentiation, clearly separating us in some way from our local competitors. The days of being one up on your competition by having a special piece of equipment or process are gone. So is your ability to say you are “unrivaled” in what you do as part of the mitigation or restoration process.
Offering to do things for them that aren’t normally available from the other companies, such as: providing personal concierge services, or paying for them to stay in a hotel the first night. These little things amount to huge differences between you and the others. Especially combining several small things together as a bigger offer. Providing them with an emergency kit, compiled by your company, will help differentiate you from other contractors.
In the emergency kit, you might want to include toothpaste, tooth brush, deodorant, and several other personal grooming items. One client we work with includes a teddy bear in the kit. These kits work well for Fire or Smoke, or even Mold projects where they have to move out of the house temporarily. When you decide that you are not special and offer the same thing as everyone else – then and only then are you in a position to be creative and Different. Simply, to be different, you need to offer something the rest of your competitors either can’t or won’t offer.
Differentiation has two major components: overall distinction and perception of scarcity. Ask a buyer why they selected one provider over another when they make a purchase and there’s usually more than one single reason. There’s a collection of distinctions that ultimately makes the front-runner stand out in the customer’s mind. The companies winning the job are often the ones who help buyers see what’s possible, different, and bring new ideas to the table.
Also, when a potential customer perceives that something is scarce, it stands out to them, and they tend to desire it more when it’s difficult to find.
Co-authored by Beth Hinton and D Wagner