In talking with small and start-up companies, I am often concerned about what the organizations have to say about what their “differentiators” are.

Business owners talk about traits that make them different, but sometimes these are things that don’t really make a difference. Here are three of the top differentiators that I hear that make little to no difference to a customer:

We are local! Great, so what?

Unless you are a restaurant or other business than can only exist by being local, most people don’t care. While many people claim that they like to “buy local” doing so is another matter. If you have the best product with the lowest price, great. Buying local is just an added bonus. The idea that a company with a poor product or service with local headquarters changes buying behavior is a pipe-dream.

We have the best service. Super, so what?

What does this mean? Do you have stories to back up why your customer service should play a part into my buying decision? Everyone says they have great customer service so is this point even relevant? If I can purchase something that is 50% less in price and 10% lower in service level than your product guess which one I am going to buy?

We have the lowest price. Are you sure?

Ok, what does that mean? Does your product has the lowest quality? While price can be very important (see above) especially if your product or service is a commodity, leading with this can put you in a bit of quandary if you do not present it correctly. Why are you the lowest price is important to consider. Are you the lowest price because you have an efficiency that on one else has, you have cut out a part of the distribution system, or is it because you save money by making a lower quality product that is in fact more expensive because I must keep replacing it?

The summary is simple; make sure your differentiators are in fact different from your competitors. People continue to want products or services to solve problems. Make sure yours does so.

Matt Dantzler lives in the Kansas City, MO area and is the President and Head Coach of TSC Sales Coaching and Consulting. Matt works with startup and small businesses to get them to market and to increase their top and bottom lines. TSC also delivers a unique Inside Sales Coaching program to dramatically increase Inside Sales Team performance.

Matt also facilitates a weekly job club to help professionals work through the transition process and land their next role. Matt is a rabid Nebraska football fan.

Matt can be reached at 913.534.8624 or at mdantzler@telemasters.net