The four ‘C’s – how to differentiate your offer in a crowded market

Feb 5, 2018 | Blog, Differentiation from competitors, Key Client Management

Whether you are selling engineering, consultancy or legal services, the climate can be harshly competitive. Annabel Miller highlights one of the biggest challenges: of being able to differentiate your offer to that of your competitors.

In most cases our competitors are technically as good as we are, many also have the track record and experience that clients are looking for. There may be a difference in the fees they charge compared to you but as long as we’re comparing apples with apples there’s unlikely to be a lot of difference in the price either.

 

So how do we answer the question ‘Why choose us’ in the mind of the client?

There are things we can do and say that will firmly differentiate us and our offer and they are not “we’re better than them” or “we’re cheaper than them”. They fall into the following categories:

  • Curiosity
  • Courage
  • Conviction
  • Confidence

By demonstrating these four things you will firmly position yourself and your solution, head and shoulders above your competitors.

Differentiate your offering

Learn how to develop your team to become truly client-centric

Get more info

Curiosity

An innate sense of professional curiosity is an essential skill that the best business developers have naturally. Really understanding your client, their challenges, their objectives (including personal KPIs) their hopes, fears and aspirations will provide you with the intelligence to be proactive and genuinely help your client.

Courage

There are times when we know better than our client, after all, this is our area of expertise. Having the courage (and tact) to push back on clients’ wishes is something Trusted Advisors do but be wary – you have to earn the right to challenge your client. We also have to be courageous in other areas, for example, only bidding for opportunities we know we have a really good chance of winning, asking for referrals, picking up the phone to a potential new client etc.

Conviction

Linked to courage we have to stand by our beliefs and our ethos. We must stand for something and be known for it. An example of this is a firm of engineering consultants we work with, who are known for the quality of their design. They refuse to compromise in this area, and will not cut corners when submitting a proposal which means sometimes they price themselves out of a project.

Confidence

This comes across in every interaction with clients, from how we come across on our website and marketing material to our discussions with clients and prospects, and our proposals. Clients like to work with people who are confident in themselves and their offer. Beware though, people do not warm to arrogance and there is a fine line between the two.

Account management planning

Strategic and tactical approaches to client account management.

Client Account Planning - free training guide from Questas Consulting

Make your Key Account Planning successful

Download your guide to grow your key account management skills.

Get it now

The most effective attributes of a Key Client Manager

The argument as to whether Key Client Management is something most professional services firms should or should not do came to the conclusion of a resounding YES many years ago. The success of those programmes has varied with many organisations reporting huge...

6 Things to do in 2021 to win a bigger slice of a smaller pie

After an extraordinary 2020, most economic forecasts are predicting a tough year in 2021 for most sectors. Many suggesting we will not reach pre-pandemic levels again until the end of 2022. It’s a gloomy thought and one where the Ostrich strategy of sticking your head...

Pitch Perfect – How to use story telling to structure the perfect business pitch

Storytelling connects people and builds trust in business, which means the best way to make your pitch memorable is to turn it into a story.  This isn’t a new method - the blueprint for successful storytelling has been around for a long time. You only have to look at...

10 Steps To A Successful Virtual Business Development Meeting

Virtual business development meetings have become a way of life for many of us.  Ensuring they are successful requires a well thought out plan of action. If you are a business developer, client relationship manager, or a technical expert who is required to win...

Training online, moving from the classroom and maintaining effective learning

One thing we already knew – you can’t just take a classroom course and deliver it online. With over 20 years experience in corporate training we took the principles and tested on ourselves and friendly clients how best to adapt to get it right online. And those rehearsals were the best investment we could have made! Here’s what we learnt delivering Virtual Classroom Training.

3 Ways Virtual Training Can Help Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Like many businesses, we’ve had to adapt to new ways of working since the pandemic began.  Virtual training has not only been the only way to continue to deliver our courses, we’ve also discovered another positive outcome – a huge reduction in our (and our client’s) carbon footprint!

How To Manage & Maintain Client Relationships in a Virtual World

Are you tasked with managing important client relationships whilst working remotely? We ran a live webinar on 24th April attended by over 70 people, which aimed at help professionals who have the new challenge of nurturing client relationships during lockdown and...

Webinar: Managing and maintaining client relationships in a virtual world

Managing and maintaining client relationships in a virtual world. A practical and engaging free live webinar aimed at professionals that work in the natural and built environment. This is for YOU if you are tasked with maintaining client relationships during the lockdown period and beyond.

Cross Selling: how to achieve growth by cross selling in professional services

‘Cross-Selling’ is the key to smart business growth but why is it so difficult? Questas CEO & Founder, Gary Williams reveals how to overcome the barriers and generate significant opportunities from existing clients.What is cross selling? Cross-selling is best...

Four ways to get out of your comfort zone and be the catalyst to growth

Questas' Gary Williams writes in the RICS Recruit Blog about how to develop confidence in technical staff who are required to "sell". Gary is an expert Business Development Consultant and Executive Coach and works with leading professional firms in the built and...

Get in touch