“Why should I do business with you, instead of any and all other options I have?”

This question goes through prospects’ minds before they choose to do business with professional service providers as well as through the minds of your clients before they return to work with you again.

And, it’s a question you must take the time to formulate an answer to. Without such an answer, you become like every other business that provides the same services as you.

It doesn’t matter what particular service is being offered; your clients can go nearly anywhere and find the exact same (or very similar) services offered for the same price, or perhaps for even less money than what you charge.

So, how do you identify your unique competitive advantage (UCA) as professional service providers?

Think about yourself for a minute.

Why do you have your car serviced at the same place every time or frequent the same dry cleaner or restaurant regularly?

Most likely it’s because they offer you something you can’t get from their competitors. Maybe they’re closer to where you live or work. Or maybe you like the way a particular restaurant prepares a certain meal. Perhaps it’s the environment or the people who work there.

Or maybe you just feel comfortable … almost like you’re at home while you’re in their place of business. It may not be one single thing that influences you but rather a combination of several factors.

Nevertheless, the businesses you continue to frequent give you something special; something unique; and something you just can’t get anywhere else. It’s that uniqueness that keeps you coming back over and over again. That’s their unique competitive advantage.

If you expect people to do business with you rather than your competition, it’s imperative you have something to offer that your competition doesn’t have. Preferably you’re offering something your competition can’t, something that sets you and the services you offer apart from everyone else in your type of business.

That’s your unique competitive advantage.

Coming up with your own UCA doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s simply a matter of identifying what you have to offer your clients or prospects beyond what the service you offer can provide.

Let’s say you’re involved with a service that is so similar to others in the marketplace that there is no significant difference between them.

In that case, your UCA must be something you or your business can offer, exclusive of the features or benefits of the service you sell.

Even if the advantage you offer has to do with quality, service, dependability, convenience, professionalism, etc., just to state those facts is not enough.

You must find ways to specifically quantify or identify how those items benefit or provide advantage to the end user. When you use phrases or words like, “Top Quality,” “The Best, Most Reliable Service,” “Dependable Delivery,” or “We offer the best service and the lowest prices,” they ring hollow in the ears of your prospects and clients.

These are too vague and meaningless. Not only can most of your competitors say the same things, they do say them. Instead, you want to be very clear about how the advantages you offer will benefit your clients.

Tell them exactly what they can expect from you. It may be that you only offer your clients and prospects the highest quality, “top-of-the-line” services. If so, that’s great. But tell them in very specific, definable and quantifiable terms so they understand exactly what “highest quality, top-of-the-line” means to them and how they’ll benefit.

Maybe you have the lowest prices in the industry or your market area. If so, that’s good. But how much lower are you? How much can your prospects and clients save by choosing you?

Perhaps the support you offer in terms of education, service, or assistance is superior to that offered by your competitors. Or it could be that you offer free consultations, extended hours, or better trained advisers.

Those are all good things to offer. But, in and of themselves, they don’t say much. To use these features to their fullest advantage, you must quantify them.

Show your prospects and clients very clearly how much lower, how much better, how much superior, how much of an advantage they’ll get by doing business with you.

Spell out exactly, clearly, and specifically what advantages and benefits your clients will gain. Whatever you choose to make your UCA, remember, it must be perceived as desirable to your prospects and clients. In other words, they have to consider it to be of value to them.

If you can, make your UCA something exclusive to you and your business operation. The more exclusive or proprietary you can make it, the less competition you’ll have.

If you’re the only one who offers that something extra, whatever it may be, make sure your clients or prospects know they can’t get it from anyone else at any price. It’s simply not available.

And, if that something extra is exclusive to you, no one can compete with you, and that gives you a great advantage in your marketplace.

That something then, whatever it is, becomes your Unique Competitive Advantage. It’s the thing, the reason, the advantage that will make it not only worthwhile, but beneficial and advantageous – even desirable – for others to do business with you as professional service providers.

VisionPATH Business Solutions offers personalized consulting and advisory services to companies large and small. We have a long-standing reputation of providing honest, individualized advice to our clients. No matter your need, whether it is to capture new market share, to streamline processes and cut costs or to add services and grow you business, you can rely on VisionPATH to provide you with honest advice to help you achieve your goals.