By Maurie Cashman
Your competitive advantage may be in the product or service you provide, but probably not. Rather than trying to convince your customers that your product/service is better than your competition when it really isnâ€™t. Even if your product or service isnâ€™t special by itself, the way you manufacture, test, package, deliver, source, support it and provide other extras can make the difference in customers buying decisions.
When conducting competitive analysis the following is a list of advantages your company may have:
- Product knowledge
- Installation training
- Superior communications
- Delivery condition
- Inventory availability
- Sales leads
- Quick customer response
- Post-sale technical support
- Product performance
- Sourcing advantages
- Complete shipments
- Easy installation
- Unique design
- Shipping documents
- Product training
- Ease of ordering
Internal Competitive Advantages
Your company may have some strong internal competitive advantages that your customers donâ€™t see which can influence their buying decisions. A few of those may be:
If a potential customer knows you dominate the market they are more likely to deal with you. A strong national, regional or county market presence can be impressive.
Your expertise is more important than how long you have been around. Make sure your clients know about it.
The physical location of your warehouses or the size of your truck fleet may give you an advantage in receiving and shipping products, translating into faster order fulfillment.
Knowledge in working through layers of government laws and regulations is unusual. Your customers can benefit from your experience and the knowledge you can pass on. You may also be able to act as an advocate for your customersâ€™ best interest in dealing with regulators and legislative initiatives.
Substitute Products Or Services:
If you have alliances or networking arrangements that strengthen the entire range and quality of services or products you can bring to a customer you may be able to provide a one-stop source for your customers.
If you have the latest equipment, better access to suppliers or more readily available inventory find ways to demonstrate it to your customers.
If you do a high volume of business or hold exclusive rights to products, you have influence with your suppliers. Let your customers know about these.
By minimizing the risk of buying from you and building up what you can offer, you give your customers confidence that they are in good hands.