Every prospect that you have ever seen in the past or will ever see in the future has had the same question in their mind. Ninety-nine percent of the time they never ask it, but if you lost the sale it is likely you never answered it to their satisfaction. To successfully close new business you MUST answer this question: Why should I do business with you instead of your competitor?

If you don't have that answer on the tip tongue right now as you read this, I guarantee you are losing business because of it. The answer to that question is your "competitive advantage" and if you don't have one, don't know what it is or can't articulate it you are losing business to the people who can articulate it.

If you can articulate your competitive advantage right now, Congratulations! Can it be improved? And if you can't, we need to start immediately to put it together.

Now to begin, all competitive advantages need to be measurable. If you say, "We give great service," how is that different from your competitors? Are they saying, "We give bad service?"

If you say, "You have access to your account by calling me, calling our 24-hour customer service desk, going online or through our mobile app on your phone." That sounds a little better, doesn't it?

Putting together your competitive advantage is work. If it were easy, everyone would have one. Why not begin by researching what your competitors are bragging about? Do they have advantages you need to combat? If so, how can you compete?

Next, how do you measure things like quality, service, staff, ease of doing business, products and service? Try to lock in on what you can do better than your competitors. Can you maintain this advantage? After you lock in on your competitive advantage, how do you articulate it? Will you need to get this statement into your marketing literature? Does it need approval from compliance?

Once you can articulate your competitive advantage, it should be the foundation of all your marketing efforts. Your clients should be able to easily summarize it to their friends and associates. Sadly most advisors don't feel like they want to "brag" about service. But as long as your claims are measurable, you are simply stating a fact and not bragging. Get over it! Nothing is a big deal unless you make it a big deal yourself.

If you don't know what your completive advantage is, clients will generally tell you. Just ask them what they like best about working with you and try and build on that.

If you send me your completive advantage statement I'll be happy to share my thoughts. I have seen hundreds of them and the good ones really stand out. The not so good ones usually just need to be tweaked. Email me at todd.colbeck@ccgcoaching.com.

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