Transformation Advisors, Inc.
B.I.G. Strategies for Business Excellence

It’s pretty clear that the economy isn’t going to bounce right back. But this doesn’t mean that 2011 will be a bad year for business. Now is the time to make the most of your strengths in the marketplace — to keep your customers and bring in more.

Why should they buy from you?
Everyone needs insurance. But why should they buy from your agency rather than the agency down the street or online? When you can answer that question — and consistently deliver — you have a competitive advantage.

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Pamela A. Millard, CPCU

Pamela A. Millard, CPCU 530.295.1083


The first step
The first step to creating competitive advantage is to choose who your customers are and are not. Your competitive strategy will be more streamlined and effective, guided by this choice. Understand the importance of identifying your customer.

Understand your customer.
Simply figuring out what your competition does well and then doing it better or cheaper isn’t “competitive advantage.” Unless you know what your customer wants and needs, no strategy will work. In order to provide products and services

What is your competitive advantage?

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“If you don't have a conpetitive advantage, don't compete.”
~ Jack Welch

which are better or cheaper than your competition, you must listen to the voice of your customer. This listening is not just a one-time event. Listening is an ongoing process, as well as knowing what questions to ask.

Be creative.
Competitive advantage requires more than just responding to your customers’ needs and wants. It requires creativity. Not only do you need to understand your customer, you need to figure out what you can do for your customers that no one else is doing. Be creative. Look at your strengths and weaknesses in the context of competitive advantage. See what everyone else sees, but think and do what no one else is thinking or doing. To get the competitive advantage, examine all your competencies and combine them.

Operational effectiveness is a vital component of your competitive strategy. If your organization can't deliver, the customer will go somewhere else. On the other hand, if you and your competition are all focused on doing the same things in the same way, then the customer will have only price on which to differentiate his buying choices. Price, as we know, is a non-sustainable competitive advantage. True competitive advantage requires distinctiveness.

Create competitive advantage by ensuring that processes and procedures complement each other. Verify that service is an extension of sales and vice versa. Make sure your technology supports sales and service, and delivers the ability to manage the total customer relationship. When sales, marketing, customer support and administrative functions are all interconnected and mutually reinforcing, competitors don't have to match just one thing, they have to match the whole system. Consistency across functions and activities creates advantage that is sustainable.

Being as good as the competition might allow you to survive. Being better than the competition will allow you thrive.

Make sure you aren't among the whiners, blaming bad times, the soft market or the bad economy for your lack of growth or loss of revenue. There has never been a better time to be better than the competition—to create your own advantage.

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