Contractors’ Competitive Advantage

by Chris Arlen on October 9, 2007

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Competitive AdvantageMost contractors believe their services are remarkably different from competitors. Their (fill in the blank) technology, operations, quality, etc. are noticeably better than the next guy’s.

However, customers only see shades of gray. They don’t see a remarkable difference. Contractors look pretty much the same.

I’m not saying great technology, operations, or quality aren’t important. They are. But they’re no longer differentiators. They’re the ante just to get into the game. You couldn’t play if you didn’t have them. Harsh but true.

Where is competitive advantage?

Does the contractor with the most offices or largest annual revenues have the advantage? Nope. Otherwise the largest contractor would win every time. And you know they don’t.

Does the cheapest or highest price have the advantage? No again, because low ball or high price doesn’t win any more bids than middle market pricing.

Competitive advantage lives here

I believe it’s in the most compelling customer solution. That’s what customers’ buy – solutions to their problems, or fulfillment of their wants.

Competitive advantage is with the contractor who best understands a particular customer’s specific problems and wants. And then creatively solves and presents that unique solution.

Everything else, fancy offices, web this-and-that, are all necessary, but not the tipping point.

It comes down to contractors’ abilities in sales analysis, solution design, and then presentation. And this often is a lot more work than most sales people want. But that’s the edge between average and exceptional.

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Chris Arlen
President, Service Performance

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