From the Center for Strategic Relations, a twice-monthly supplement to Applying Strategic Relations, mailed at your request

Creating Competitive Advantage

Busy? I am. That's the way business is supposed to be. That's why your success stories are so important to me, if you weren't actually using these strategies I share, I couldn't keep up with this pace.

In the last lesson, you learned how to make your customer feel like they are a part of your "Good Ole Boys" network. This is so important, because today, so many of your competitors look just like you. It's true, what really sets you apart from the "other guy"?

Nothing can really set you apart from the herds, except your relationship with customers.

Today's lesson is about positioning you to become your customer's greatest competitive advantage. Probably the only way you'll ever lock in buyers that really matter to your bottom line.

Next month, a new year, you'll learn how to build customer relationships at interaction points. Even one communications mistake your company is doing that repels profitable customers, costing you thousands a day.

With warm regards,

Justin Hitt
Consultant, Author & Speaker

How To Become Your Customers Biggest Competitive Advantage

By Justin Hitt, Strategic Relations Consultant,

Imagine customers so loyal they wouldn't think of doing business with anyone else. Even a customer who claims your company as their biggest competitive advantage . . . and who buys everything you have to offer with little or no effort on the part of your sales team.

You might say, "That will never happen . . ."

Is it possible to create this praise and admiration from customers who have so many choices in your competitive market place?

If you aren't already aware of the harsh reality that everything in your business can be stolen, copied, and taken from you except one thing. Then you know that more is required to keep customers in the highly competitive technology and professional services industries.

A strong customer relationship is the only differentiating factor you have.

Here is what you need to do to become your customer's most powerful competitive advantage , and to create a loyalty that can't be broken by mere shallow promises of desperate competitors.

Your team must . . .

  1. Promote your customers business growth. While your business objectives are important, shape them around the objectives of your market. More specifically, adjust short term business objectives around the desires of individual profitable customers.
  2. Identify what you really do. Most business-to-business firms can be functionally replaced at any moment, unless they understand the true result customers are buying. Your customers aren't buying what you do; they are buying the results you create. Focus on results first.
  3. Be selective about the customers you serve. Learn to set your business up for success by not accepting just any customer, instead choose customers you can truly help with the resources you have today. Testing theory on customers is the worst way to maintain competitive interest.
  4. Focus on solid wins even if small. Many small wins add up to huge change, but not every win is important to your customer. In advocating your customer's best interest, find out what areas they want improvement in, share your professional opinion, but ultimately work first on what is important to them.
  5. Create an open dialog between experts and the customer. Make it easy for customers to ask questions, but even easier for your internal experts to capture this information to share with sales and marketing. The questions customers ask are a window to the desires customers have.
  6. Give them something they can't get anywhere else. Besides a meaningful business relationship, there is something your company offers that no other firm can possible provide. It's your secret weapon that makes customers so successful with your product or service. Make sure your customer knows what this is.
  7. Have sales people follow up twice as much. Now that you are listening to your customers, advocating their best interest, and collecting details about their concerns; sales people must follow up to fill any gaps in customer desires. Now is the time to convert potential into growth for both you and your customers.

Nothing is worse than preparing a prospective customer to do business with your competition. That's exactly what you'll do if you aren't your customer's biggest competitive advantage.

To become your customer's biggest competitive advantage, customers must be clear about every point shared here. Constant follow up is critical to converting advantage into a mutually profitable business relationship .

Every minute you wait, you're losing one more profitable customer, take action now . . .

© 2005 JWH Consolidated LLC dba Center for Strategic Relations, All rights reserved.

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