Fundamentals are back (finally!)
Demonstrate your added value
Clarify your service offering
Communicate your expertise
These are the messages that coaches, consultants and experts have been communicating for years, with the aim of helping entrepreneurs stand out from their competitors.
But are they still valid?
In his book A New Kind of Diversity, best-selling author and John Maxwell business partner, Tim Elmore, describes the history of distinction in business as three milestones:
- The era of industrialization
During the era of industrialization, companies distinguished themselves by the machines they owned. The more powerful and efficient their machines, the better the companies were regarded.
For example, a printer capable of producing more copies, faster and better quality, gained a larger market share than its competitors.
- The information era
According to the author, the era of industrialization was replaced by the era of information. The latter was marked by the accessibility of information: the person with the most information was one step ahead of everyone else.
The advent of the Internet exploded this era, where obtaining information was the key to standing out from the crowd.
The trusted professional able to offer more information to clients and potential clients triumphed.
But now, social and traditional media are inundating us with information, and let’s not get into the conversation around artificial intelligence, which makes access to information even simpler and easier…
This is where, according to the renowned author, the 3rd axis of distinction emerges.
And when values and priorities change, so do expectations (and therefore expectations of you).
- The era of humanization
It’s now clear that we all, or almost all, have access to the same products and information.
So, what distinguishes an entrepreneur from the hundreds or thousands of others offering the same service in this era?
Our values, our leadership, our personality and our authenticity: in short, the human being with whom the client decides to do business.
The author emphasizes this new axis of distinction. But, at the end of the day, this has always been the most useful way of building client loyalty.
The business world – and perhaps even society – simply got lost for a few years in believing that products and services, years of experience, degrees and certifications were the main distinguishing factors, maybe somehow they were for clients as well back then.
What do we do now?
In the light of this new reality, which is after all is a return to our roots, it’s up to us to take the time to take the time and shed light on:
- Our true business mission – no, it’s not “giving our clients peace of mind” or “helping people”; it’s so deeper than that.
- Our values – I’m always amazed at how far we’ve sometimes strayed from our values, and how unaware entrepreneurs (and humans in general) are of their true values.
- Our leadership – leadership is a reflection of our self-leadership. How many entrepreneurs do you know who don’t implement for themselves the strategies they offer to their clients? How many say they offer their clients the freedom to live life to the fullest, yet don’t live their own freedom? How many entrepreneurs don’t embody their mission and values? (pssss…the answer: a lot!)
It’s time to walk the talk, as the saying goes, because in this new era, alignment with who we really are and integrity are the pillars of the axis of distinction.
Leaders who win the hearts – and wallets – of their customers are those who understand the importance of the fundamentals of relationship capital.
After all, what we do is not B2C (business-to-consumer) or B2B (business-to-business), but H2H (human-to-human).