3 steps to differentiate your business (and charge more)

Written by Joel Gerschman

Have you ever wondered how to get customers to choose you over your competitors… without simply dropping your prices?

If so, here’s a critical insight: to get customers to buy from you rather than your competitors, you’ll need to differentiate your business in their minds.

Let’s explore how…

1. Understand customer needs

To effectively differentiate your business, you’ll first need to understand what drives your target customers to buy – in other words, their driving needs.

Why? There’s no point trying to differentiate around needs that your customers don’t actually have. Advertising copy that doesn’t hit on your customers’ core, driving needs simply won’t work. If your target market is hard on cash and after a low cost product, yet you focus on your environmentally friendly qualities, you’re way off the mark.

So step 1 is to ask yourself:

What are the needs of my target market customers? And which of those are the ‘driving’ needs the ones most critical to their purchase decision?”

2. Differentiation strategy

Once you know what drives your customers to buy, you’ll need to make a strategic decision about which key customer needs you want to differentiate around – such that it will make you stand out in their minds.

At the end of the day, customers want their needs met – and if you can meet one or more of those needs better than others, you can effectively differentiate your business (and charge more as a result).

But be careful here. Don’t make the mistake that many businesses make. Differentiation doesn’t merely mean being unique or different. It that means that your business can meet one or more of the driving needs of your target customers better than the competition.

For example, all customers expect good value, fair prices and good customer service. That’s not better. That’s your threshold requirement to be in the game and not go out of business.

The real question is: What’s your unique value to your market? Is it your lower price? Better selection? Higher quality? Greater convenience? Speedier delivery? Better warranty? Exclusive source? More socially conscious? More fun? Hippest?

So step 2 is to ask yourself:

“Out of the ‘driving’ needs of my target market, which 1-2 needs can I meet better than others to differentiate my business?”

3. Legitimise your claims

There’s one more step. To make your differentiation claims compelling, you’ll need to legitimise them with as much objective, measurable data and reasoning as possible. Don’t just say you’re faster, longer-lasting, higher quality; prove it with some evidence: research studies, case studies, testimonials or your unique qualifications or experience.

And where you don’t have any evidence (and perhaps even if you do), consider linking your offer to a guarantee that puts your money where your mouth is – and therefore builds legitimacy.

Here are some examples of specific, measurable differentiators:

  • Fresh, hot pizza, delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.
  • No-hassle, no questions asked, money-back guarantee forever.
  • My telephones give you all the power of a fancy office system – for thousands of dollars less than the leading 3 brands (and here’s a pricing comparison table…)
  • On-time printing, or you don’t pay. Used by the following top brands…

If you’ve decided which customer needs you want to differentiate around, step 3 is to ask yourself:

“What tangible evidence can I provide to justify my differentiation claims?”

If you can answer these three questions for your business, you’ll build a compelling reason for customers to choose you over others. And while it won’t mean that you can suddenly charge exorbitant prices, the more unique value you provide, the more likely it is that customers will be willing to pay you more for that extra value.

I hope this advice helps you to begin differentiating your business and standing out from the crowd. If you’d like more guidance and advice like this, you can try our Growth System program for free right here.

In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions or if there’s anything I can do to help.

All the best,


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