Rule #2: Don’t Be a Commodity


Com·mod·i·ty: /kəˈmädədē/
1: A reasonably interchangeable good or material.
2: A business that doesn't stand out from the crowd in any way.

Here's a question for you. You provide the same services as other businesses in your market. So why would a prospect walk past all of those other businesses to get to you? What's so special about you?

You've got to admit, it's a fair question. If you're like most independent contractors, you may not have an immediate answer. Luckily, finding the answer to that question isn't as difficult as you might think.

Tips for Standing Out in a Crowd

Marie Forleo is one of my favorite voices online. I like the way she explains the process of standing out in her MarieTV series. She lists five uncomplicated tips for separating yourself from the pack.

There is a common theme running throughout her first four tips. I think number five is a bit of a no-brainer, but I guess sometimes you need to state the obvious.

Marie's Tips For Standing Out

  1. Tell your company's story
  2. Tell us what you value and believe in
  3. Create a distinct voice and tone
  4. Leverage your visual communication
  5. Give outstanding customer service

People like to work with people that they know like and trust.

None of these tips mention your cool procedures or your fancy equipment. Anyone can purchase a specialized piece of equipment, or learn a specialized procedure.

The one thing that no one else in your market can do… is be YOU.

You Story Has Power

Don't under estimate the importance of your particular story. Marie's first two tips emphasize telling your story. Tips three and four emphasize how you tell your story. That is, put your personality and a bit of polish into the telling of your story. The final tip, the one I referred to as a no brainer, means provide an outstanding experience for your customer.

The telling of your story, and the tone with which you tell it will resonate with customers who are looking for someone who does what you do, the way you do it. Your story is a promise to future customers that you will take care of them when they come to see you. Providing an outstanding customer experience is how you fulfill that promise.

The Take-Away

You will probably never have the luxury of being the only game in town. There will always be someone else that provides the exact same service you provide. They'll have the same training and the same tools you have. That's fine is because these aren't what make you special.

What makes you special is why you do what you do and how well you do it. So craft your story then tell it well and often.

Related: Rule #1: It's Not About You