Sales Make it Happen
“Fast Turn around Time”
If you want to avoid the label of a “me-too” player in your industry, you will want to identify your company's Exclusive Strengths.
Because some customers use your services, you have, at least in their eyes, Exclusive Strengths. These are strengths that are exclusive to your company, are recognized as exclusive by your customers, and for which you have earned bragging rights. Exclusive Strengths can only be claimed by you - they cannot also be claimed by any of your competitors.
In the equipment finance business, the claim of “fast credit turnaround time” can be claimed by so many competitors that the claim isn't even a strength today, it's a requirement for staying in business! The same is true for a claim that your company's people truly care about their customers. You can bet that your competitors are making the same claim to their customers.
So, how do you go about identifying Exclusive Strengths? The process is relatively simple, and deceptively powerful. First, conduct a brainstorming session with everyone involved in the company's revenue generating process. You can do this in an office setting or at a retreat. Ask the participants to answer these questions: What do we have that our competitors cannot offer, or what do we do that our competitors don't do? Once answers to these questions are developed into a list, the qualification process begins.
To qualify as an Exclusive Strength, what you have or what you do must be something your customers care about. For example, if you truly have a system of credit and collection activities that allow you to approve and fund more “D” credits than any industry competitor in a geographical area, and your customers care about this ability, it begins to qualify as an Exclusive Strength. If you can prove your claim to your customers, it will then pass the final test and will qualify as an Exclusive Strength for your company. It's important to note that your claim is an Exclusive Strength only for those customers who are “D” credits or those who provide goods or services to “D” credit customers. “A” credit customers, or those who sell exclusively to “A” credit customers, may have no interest in your sub-prime funding capabilities. In these cases your ability is not seen as an Exclusive Strength because they don't care!
Another, almost failsafe approach to zeroing in on your Exclusive Strengths is to ask your customers! Instead of sending out surveys which ask your customers how you can improve your services, ask them, in person, the following, simple questions: “Why do you do business with us? What do we have or do that distinguishes us, in your eyes, from our competitors?” They will tell you how they see you as different from your competitors, and they'll let you know what else they want from you to remain loyal customers.
--- from the desk of a retired, successful leasing company president.