It is a well-known fact that there is a large market of clients who are eager to learn how to advance their professional expertise and grow their businesses. Therefore, business coaches need to establish their presence in order to be found by their clients and provide them with the coaching services they require. Thus, as a business coach, you’ll maybe need to learn first how to differentiate yourself from the competition.
In today’s highly competitive market, the ability of your business to prosper and expand is no longer possible by copying your competitors, and businesses that offer coaching services are no exception to the rule. A customer who is looking for a business coach is looking for something new and different. As a result, if your coaching services don’t add an outstanding experience, you may have trouble building clients’ trust and helping them grow their businesses.
Taking on this topic always makes me reflect on several situations I’ve encountered in the past…
As many of you know, I’m a Houston, Texas, resident. It’s a major metropolitan city, which may or may not be like the city you live in. In this massive city, there are a lot of people and there are a lot of convenience stores and plenty of gas stations. I remember moving to Houston, and when I became more accustomed to driving down some of the major highways, there was a convenience store and gas station that stood out above the rest. It’s called Buc-ee’s, and if you’re from Texas you’ve probably heard of it.
I clearly remember driving through on I-10, far from Houston, waiting 50 miles before I could get to a Buc-ee’s. It was someplace I always stopped, and it became a destination stop for my wife and me. Now that we have kids it’s somewhere we almost always stop when we’re going on road trips. Despite the fact that there are other convenience stores or gas stations along the way, we will wait just so we can make it to Buc-ee’s.
Buc-ee’s are great for many reasons, but they have ONE thing that makes them stand out from their competitors. This ONE thing that makes Buc-ee’s different is that they have the most amazing, clean restrooms! And, this ONE thing will always make me choose them over the competition. They created a huge differential product and marketed themselves based on the cleanliness of their restrooms. There’s always someone to make sure that their guests will have an amazing experience in the restroom and people know them for that. In fact, they created a game-changer for their entire organization.
See, Bu-cee’s are the perfect example of taking the ordinary, taking something simple, and making it extraordinary. They took a difference that people would not have thought about and created something that is hard for others to match. That’s what they are known for!
So, going back to business coaching, let’s think together, what:
In the coaching business, a few people that we’ve worked with truly have a unique service, which makes the answers to these questions easy for them. For example, they may work in a small town and they are the only business providing coaching services when no one else around does. In this case, the location makes it an obvious competitive differentiation.
Or, maybe they’re doing business coaching with a company that has unique technology. A technology that no one else has, a technology that they developed exclusively for a specific niche and it totally makes them different. If that’s your situation, figuring out what sets you apart becomes easy.
Yet the reality is that a lot of business coaches don’t have anything that’s particularly different. If your niche is very common, then you have to find out HOW TO DIFFERENTIATE YOURSELF FROM THE COMPETITION. This is key and foundational to your marketing plan!
Here at EntreResults, while coaching other coaches, we always focus on helping them discover WHAT MAKES THEM DIFFERENT. It’s a challenging question for a lot of them, and many are unable to answer.
Knowing your “Brand Promise” is crucial. And, when you think about what makes you different, think of what you can guarantee to the marketplace.
One thing I always hear is, “our customer service is different; it makes us different than the competition”. Well, you can market customer service as a unique competitive differentiation, but to be honest, it’s not that different from what others are marketing. When people say “our customer service is different”, they perceive their customer service as distinctive from the competition’s, which is not always the case.
On the other hand, the term “customer service” is too broad. So, what part of customer service do you mean? Which specific element of customer service makes you so unique and different? What makes you stand out in a crowd? Most people will say “We care, but our competition doesn’t”. Well, everybody in the coaching business cares so that doesn’t truly make you different.
Some business coaches say, “Well I make the difference. I am the difference in why clients do business with me.” Well, that can be also true, but what about you makes you different from the competition? What about you stands out above the rest? ARE YOU REALLY DIFFERENT?
Your competitive differentiation should add value to your clients. For instance, do you only meet with your clients on a schedule, or can you be reached if there is an emergency? Will you go the extra mile and put in more effort to ensure their success?
It is not enough to assume that your clients would be glad to work with you because you provide an invaluable extra service (such as being present on all social media platforms, but you’re not there for them when they need your genuine help).
Your competitive differentiation doesn’t necessarily have to be amazing. If you can identify one single element that only you can guarantee to keep doing, that would be your competitive advantage.
To begin with, you should be honest with yourself and determine:
So what I want you to do as an exercise is write down all the things that make you different. Think about it and brainstorm.
Eventually, what you want to do is break it down into your top three. Now, something else to think about is simply going and asking people that you work with currently. You can ask your clients, what they think makes you different. You can get plenty of ideas from communicating with them.
Moreover, you can also do some surveys and think everything through. Once you get to your three competitive differentiation, hone in on that one thing you’re going to guarantee or that one thing that you’re really going to drive to the market over and over again. It could be your brand promise or your brand guarantee.
Once you figure that out, it becomes part of your marketing message or marketing material. Every time you speak to someone it might be part of your tagline. It might be part of what you say when you speak to groups, or maybe it’s on your website. In all cases, it becomes a part of your entire marketing communication. If you’ve been in business for a while, this is something you might want to look at. Or certainly, if you’re new at it, this is a thing you can go to and create. That’s going to get you much traction early on in your business.
As the market needs your coaching services, help your clients trust you and make use of your expertise by bringing something unique to the table and being DIFFERENT.
For more advice, reach out to us and share your questions about business coaching. I and my EntreResults team will be happy to discuss them in future posts. Until the next post, go out, take action, and have a better than amazing day!
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