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Dismal Differentiators: What's watering down your secret sauce

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Most of us have a few pet peeves. You know, chalk-on-the-blackboard irritants that just drive you a little bonkers. The limp handshake. The backhanded compliment.

In the brand building business, I am hyper-alert to how leaders convey their value to potential customers. Too often, it isn’t pretty. The loser logo—it detracts from your brand. The bad business card—Is this what you want people to associate with your organization? And, drumroll please, the dismal differentiator.

Why does this last one burrow so deeply under my skin? A differentiator is your tipping point. It separates you from all the others. It speaks to the reason why—all things apparently being equal—that clients select you. And, select you time after time.

If you aren’t clear about this point, you miss an opportunity to tip the scales in your favor. You are failing to help your ideal client spot you in the crowd. You aren’t communicating what you offer that satisfies their unmet need.

If you think “single source supplier,” “one-stop shop,” and “leaders in…” are doing the heavy lifting, you are mistaken. Look around. Isn’t that what your competitors are saying?

To craft a differentiator that makes a difference, be clear about what moves the needle for your customers. It’s not the expected thing…it’s the unanticipated solution. It’s the pain reliever.

Be clear. Be bold. Be different.

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