I love the whole idea of a person jumping out of a huge birthday cake.The first person to pull off that gag must have thought they were a comic genius. They probably were.But now, nobody is surprised if a giant sized birthday cake gets rolled out. They know what’s going to happen next.So what about if you surprise a prospect by proposing something different than they had in mind when they first contacted you?That’s strong form of differentiation #4: Propose and deliver something that benefits their business more than what they originally thought was possible.Remember that weak forms of differentiation are claims that almost any of your competitors can credibly make. “We have a great process.” “We have a great team.” That kind of thing…When you actually help your clients find more beneficial ways of solving problems, you set yourself apart from all the developers out there who just want a tight enough spec that they can blame their client for any problems the spec creates or for the scope creep that happens mid to late project. In other words, you set yourself apart from developers who see themselves only as hired hands.Helping clients find better or more beneficial ways of doing things involves:
- Asking a lot of questions. You can’t rush to close the deal.
- Sometimes saying no to their ideas about how to do things.
- Having confidence in your own ability to make good judgement calls. This comes from having relevant experience, and you accrue relevant experience faster by focusing on a specific market vertical or specific type of problem.
- Setting the expectation that you are there to help make fundamental decisions about the overall approach, the architecture, and how the software is built. You’re not just there to code, you’re there to improve your client’s business.
Here’s the tricky thing about this differentiator…It’s not very effective to say something like “we’ll help you make better decisions”. At least not using your own words :)Your previous clients have to say it for you.You can do that with testimonials, case studies, or by creating interactions between your prospect and previous clients.Case studies can be delivered via your website, or they can be dripped out over time via email.If you like the idea of being able to delight clients with your better ideas, then you need to figure out how to focus your business. Without a fairly narrow focus, you’re condemned to being a hired hand and not a critical part of important decisions. Get help focusing your business here: http://thepositioningmanual.comTalk to you soon,-P