Finding your differentiators

Differentiators are features that a) cannot be claimed by your competitors, and b) are important to your prospect. In tight competitions—especially where there is little difference in price—small degrees of differentiation is often the difference between winning and losing.

If differentiators are like diamonds, where do you start looking for them?

Focus on differentiators in four areas

Look for opportunities to make unmatched claims in four areas:

  • People: No two people or teams are identical. Highlight your team’s distinguishing attributes and its members’ abilities. Don’t rely on evaluators to read resumes tucked away in an appendix to learn your team is superior. Instead, find opportunities to stress this edge in narratives wherever possible.
  • Performance: Zero in on areas where strong performance aligns with important prospect issues. Think about performance in broad terms. Safety, implementation, communications and responsiveness all provide opportunities to compare your performance to that of competitors.
  • Experience: Define your experience in ways that closely connect to the specific needs of this prospect and opportunity. Don’t trust the evaluators to draw parallels—instead spell them out.
  • Understanding: RFP and RFQ issuers favour vendors who really understand their business and priorities. Don’t limit yourself to expressing strategic understanding in the executive summary and (if you get there) the orals presentation. Instead, demonstrate understanding throughout your proposal.

Later this month, we’ll show how to connect your differentiators to the prospect’s hot button issues and how to use them to appeal to different buyer types.

Include systems and processes

Show prospects you have reliable, repeatable systems and processes in place to deliver what you promise—especially if your competitors fall short in this area.

Companies fear being let down by unfulfilled service delivery promises caused by their vendors’ lack of the robust systems and repeatable processes they claimed or promised. If your prospect has been burned this way, win over evaluators with proof your systems and processes are in use satisfying similar clients today.

Coming up: More on differentiators

In the upcoming posts, we’ll show you how to make the most of your differentiators, including:

  • How to use specifics to strengthen differentiators
  • Where and how to express differentiators in proposals
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