Stop The Vanilla Blog

5 Reasons To Prove You Are The Best


You see it every day. Organizations stating they provide the best product or service. But few of them ever prove it. In our experience, we estimate that fewer than 7-percent of all companies illustrate the tangible value that their customers receive from their product or service. Regardless if you are a manufacturer, a service company or not-for-profit organization, it is your responsibility to prove the tangible value of your competence to your current and potential customers.

In a recent blog, we talked about identifying your competence and creating a differentiation for your organization. Simply said, your competence is what you do better than anyone else within the markets where you compete. It is the real reason your customers ultimately do business with your company.

  1. Measurement – Identify the key measurements that capture the tangible value that your competence delivers to your customers.
  2. System – Implement a company-wide measurement system by identifying all the customer touch points and the tangible value that is delivered at each one.
  3. Current Customers – Rarely do your current customers fully appreciate the value your competence delivers to their organization.  A business review process and other sales techniques must be developed that consistently communicates the tangible value of your competence to current customers.
  4. New Customers – Many organizations struggle to land new customers because they fail to communicate the tangible value their competence will deliver. You must develop sales tools that illustrate that tangible value to your prospects. Prove to them that the total value they will receive from your organization is greater than anyone else, especially low-price suppliers.
  5. Implement – Implement the process gradually across your customer base by identifying two or three of your long-standing customers to sharpen the process. They will provide candid feedback to improve your process while gaining a greater understanding of the significant value you are delivering to their organization.

As an example, we work with a wastewater treatment company that is able to prove that they save their customers, on average, $250,000 a year in reduction of sewer costs, chemical usage and wastewater system inefficiencies. They hold annual business reviews with key customers to communicate the tangible value of their competence and they are gaining new customers through effective sales presentations.

Separate your company from most organizations that say they provide the best value, but don’t prove it.

6 Steps To Creating Differentiation For Your Company


Now more than ever before is the time to understand the basics of business planning.  We have talked about focusing on the two key fundamentals of every successful organization: strategy and talent. Today, I want to tackle strategy, specifically how to build a competence in order to differentiate your business.

Here is a simple process to develop your competence and create a clear differentiation for your organization.

  1. Identify your strengths: Your competence comes from your strengths. Do an internal analysis of the organization and discuss what strengths could be the foundation of your future competence.
  2. Collect and review market research: You must discover the trends and opportunities that exist in the marketplace.  Ask yourself, “Will the marketplace value our competence?” Remember that you don’t want to make pink widgets when the market wants blue. You can’t make strategic decisions in a vacuum.
  3. Look at the competition: How are your competitors trying to differentiate themselves? Make sure you conduct a thorough competitive competence analysis.
  4. List all the competence options:  List all the competence options available and try to generate new niches within your industry.  One common competence option listed by companies is relationships. Individual relationships cannot be your competence because it is not sustainable in the long term.
  5. Clearly define your competence: In as few words as possible, define why a customer will choose your company over anyone else?  If you find that your company has multiple competencies, choose the one that will create the greatest differentiation for your company.  Or separate each competence into a division for focus and accountability.
  6. Create a list of action plans: Once you have clearly defined your competence, it’s time to make a list of action plans to implement your competence and work “on” the business.  Action plans must have an owner and completion dates.  Work on strengthening and delivering your competence every day.

5 Benefits Of A Clear Differentiation


Let’s face it. It is competitive out there, and getting more so every day.  One of your most important responsibilities is to show your customers the unmatched benefits of doing business with your company versus the competition. In a recent blog, … [Continue reading]

5 Steps To Identify Your Target Market

It’s a business fundamental: you can’t be all things to all people and sell vanilla ice cream. We have talked about developing your competence and creating a differentiation for your organization.  Simply said, your competence is what you do better … [Continue reading]

3 Skills To Move Beyond Existing To Prosperity


Justin was a lot like you and me. He wanted to build a business that was respected by his peers and provide for his family and those of his employees. But after several years of 70-hour work weeks for him and others, he felt the business was not much … [Continue reading]

The Beginning of a Beautiful Relationship


“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.”   That famous line by Humphrey Bogart from the move Casablanca can be how every new relationship starts for you using four simple words. Whether you’re interviewing a job candidate, … [Continue reading]

You Can’t Hire It If You First Don’t See It!


I recently met with a business leader that I have known for 15 years and typically when I see him he has incredible energy and passion for his business.  But this time it was different. He looked tired and down.  I asked him how he was doing and he … [Continue reading]

Getting The Candidate In Their Underwear


Do you dislike interviewing candidates for an open position? I know I did until I learned to do behavioral interviewing. With behavioral science, you know the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses even before you meet the person. Now, I enjoy … [Continue reading]

Making The Right Hire Led To The Stanley Cup

Brendan and I

It was March 2008 and Brendan Bruss had just become the team president of the Green Bay Gamblers. Like most sports franchise leaders, the most important decision lay ahead of him: the hiring of the head coach. And it was no different for … [Continue reading]

Connecting With The Younger Generation Through Their World


As an employer, do you find it difficult to connect with the younger generation? If you’re a parent, do you sometimes wonder how to reach your young adult kids? The Millennium Generation (born between 1981 and 2000 and also called Generation Y) is … [Continue reading]