Tuesday, March 11, 2014

You have at least three unique differentiators!

by Eric Snider

When we consider what differentiates one firm from another, it is easy to get caught up in the game of straining and stretching to turn a normal run-of-the-mill service or project into something unique.  As a result of the unbridled effort, we sometimes overlook the three things that set your firm apart from everyone else… and I mean everyone.  Let’s consider them individually:

Your people.
  This may sound like a “Duh” statement.  But how often have you struggled to find something unique to say in a proposal or presentation?  If you can call out something unique about one of your staff that will be assigned to the client’s project, you have a true differentiator.  The unique item may be a project,, a degree, a certification, or some other unique aspect of the person.  Call out the uniqueness several places, including in bold on the resume sheet. 

Your project portfolio.
  Again, “Duh!” may be your reaction.  Yet no one -- no one! --else has your list of completed projects.  And along with the completed projects list should go a sterling list of references for those projects.  The idea is to flesh out what is unique about the client’s project and find one of your own that closely matches.  The old truism is that engineers want you to have performed the exact same project many times and architects want you to have similar but not identical projects in your portfolio.

Your team cohesiveness and history.  This one is a little less “duh” and a bit more on details.  If you truly have a multi-firm team put together, show how you have worked together in the past as a strong and unique team.  Those relationships and their duration will be unique items for the client to consider when weighing you against your competition.  Of course, you must show the client why the team you have proposed provides the best value proposition.  On the other side, if you have a long and successful relationship with the client organization or with key individuals in the organization, you should leverage that strength by focusing on it in your proposal or presentation.  Again, the depth and levels of relationships are unique to you and your firm.

Do you have other unique differentiators?  Of course, and it just takes time to “peel the onion” back to discover them and how they relate to the client’s project. But if you are looking for a good place to start, use the three discussed here -- people, projects, and team -- to get your creative juices flowing.

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