Build Your Competitive Advantage

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With today’s market conditions, the construction industry is more competitive than ever. If you want to grow your business into 2024 and beyond it is imperative that you create a specific sales and marketing strategy based on your unique competitive advantage.

What truly sets your business apart from the competition? Think about the benefits a customer receives when they do business with you rather than someone else who provides similar products and services.

What is Your Competitive Advantage?

To identify your competitive advantage, you must understand your business, your customers, and your competition.

Questions to ask:

  • Why do customers buy from us instead of the competition?
  • Why do customers buy from our competition and not us?
  • Why do talented industry professionals want to work with and for us?
  • What do our customers need from us to be successful in the future?

 Profitable businesses have a strong competitive advantage which includes the unique benefits of their products and services that competitors find difficult-or impossible- to copy. This can range from the quality of their staff: their skills, attitudes and relationships with customers; to the innovative features that constitute the intellectual property of the business.

 There are four primary approaches to gaining a competitive advantage:

  • Price – be the low-cost supplier.
  • Product – provide unique and innovative products and services.
  • Process – use efficient business methods and approaches.
  • People – recruit and retain the most talented team members in every position.

 It’s Not Always About Price

In a 2023 survey, homeowners were asked why they choose to partner with a specific design/build contractor. The interesting thing is, in a business where price tends to be at the top of everyone’s mind, most responses were tied most closely to people and processes. For example:

  • Response time – “Jim and his team always pick up when we call.”
  • Customer experience – “Danielle really cares about our home, our family and our budget. We know we can trust her and her team.”
  • Meeting deadlines – “When Jolene says it will be there by 10 AM on Tues, it will be there.”
  • Make the process easy – “After hearing horror stories from our friends who have built or remodeled, we were prepared for the worst. But Homes by Tradition  really made every step of the process easy to follow. We knew exactly what had to take place and we were able to make all of the decisions without feeling stressed out.”
  • Value engineering – “Brenda looked over our plans to make sure we hadn’t missed any cost saving opportunities. She found several ways to save us time and money.”

 Competitive Advantage must be straightforward, consistent, and something your customers understand and value.

 Does your competitive advantage pass these tests?

  • Is it important? – does it deliver a valued benefit to your customers?
  • Is it distinctive? – is it offered only by your business or different from other businesses?
  • Is it better? – how is this measured? Certifications, awards, and third-party testimonials are essential.
  • Is it communicable? – team members and customers must be able to see the benefit and explain it to others easily.
  • Is it affordable? – are your customers ready, willing, and able to pay for it?

Unfortunately, too many business leaders don’t proactively define their competitive advantage. Instead they let their customers pick it for them. The customer may select price and then the product or service becomes nothing but a commodity. Even worse, if you haven’t optimized the cost structure for price, you may lose margin and revenue, which is a recipe for disaster. 

Another common mistake is trying to deliver on all of them. Some organizations try to be all things to all people. This is a very risky approach and can result in a loss of revenue and market position. In addition, it’s impossible to be both a low price and high value at the same time. (think Walmart vs Nordstrom)

Instead, pick specific advantages and become exceptional at them. Create strategic alignment across the organization by making sure all team members understand, support, and can clearly articulate this message with your existing and future customers.

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Customers Buy Solutions

When customers buy from you, they are actually buying the benefit that your company gives them more than anything else. How does your company simplify the purchase and selection process, reduce warranty call backs, enhance customizable options, reduce build times, save money by value engineering or purchasing products efficiently? Really think about a challenge that your customers have and how your product or service can SOLVE that problem. Is it cost, speed, quality, service, convenience, innovation or a combination of factors? Consider how your competitive advantage truly benefits your customers. Remember, not all customers have the same challenges, so you will need to tailor your solutions to their respective circumstances. One size may NOT fit all.

Thinking about how your business benefits your customers will help pinpoint your competitive advantage. A strong competitive advantage:

  • is preferably, but not necessarily, unique.
  • is clear and simple.
  • must be supported by ongoing market research.
  • will change over time.

After you have highlighted your competitive advantage, the best way to tell your customers about it is to create a distinct, consistent selling proposition.

“If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” – Jack Welch

About the Author

Nationally recognized business leader and highly sought-after keynote speaker, Lynne Jensen-Nelson uses her extensive experience in the construction industry to help organizations thrive. The power-packed combination of her success in executive leadership, profitable business ownership, and frontline sales shaped her perspective and created a true competitive advantage. This front row seat to what works and what doesn’t for companies in the construction industry allows Lynne to successfully guide others to reach peak performance. She founded Conversion-omics Speakers & Consultants for the sole purpose of education through inspiration. Through her skills in keynote speaking, workshops, and business strategy, Lynne transfers key lessons to organizations across the country.

Learn more about Lynne and her team at www.conversion-omics.com.

Lynne Jensen-Nelson

Lynne Jensen-Nelson Founder, Conversion-omics Speakers & Consultants

Conversion-omics Speakers & Consultants is a full-service bureau equipped with expert speakers, trainers, and consultants. Offering keynote speakers, custom workshops, and business strategy/assessments all in one place, Conversion-omics takes the guesswork out of hiring a professional. Each talented team member has been vetted to ensure they have the knowledge, skills, and experience to meet your unique needs.

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