Being Different is More Profitable Than Being Better Reviewed by Momizat on . There are two ways to set ourselves apart from the competition—be different or be better. Being different is more effective, but it takes some effort to demonst There are two ways to set ourselves apart from the competition—be different or be better. Being different is more effective, but it takes some effort to demonst Rating: 0
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Being Different is More Profitable Than Being Better

There are two ways to set ourselves apart from the competition—be different or be better. Being different is more effective, but it takes some effort to demonstrate how we are different. Being better is less effective, but it takes almost no effort to draft the usual platitudes. The author shares his views on the respective choices and rewards.

Being Different is More Profitable Than Being Better

There are two ways to set ourselves apart from the competition: be different or be better. Being different is more effective, but it takes some effort to demonstrate how we are different. Being better is less effective, but it takes almost no effort to draft the usual platitudes.

This has been percolating in my mind ever since I listened to John Garrett (@RecoveringCPA) deliver his Green Apple – Red Apple keynote at a years-ago AICPA FVS conference.

Then, I read a blog post by John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing that delivered a similar different/better message.

Describing Different vs. Better

As it relates to our competition, Garrett’s core message was that it’s easier to be different (Green Apple) than better (Red Apple). And that’s because it’s easier to demonstrate that how/why we are different is true, supportable, and important to the client—three critical qualities for any differentiator.

It’s much more difficult to demonstrate these qualities with better. For example, take these buzz-phrases: Our people are better … Our service is better … We care about our clients … We’re committed to excellence. Are they true? (How does the client know?) Can they be supported? (Where’s the proof?) Does the client even care? (Probably not.)

The core message from Jantsch asks: Would you rather rely on your better whatever clichés or on a relevant differentiator so obvious, important, or innovative that clients cannot stop talking about it?

Figuring Out How We Are Different

Figuring out how we’re different is easier said than done. But if marketers can differentiate toilet paper and cola, we should be able to distinguish our practices/services.

And Jantsch offered a relatively simple exercise to help us. Here is his idea for getting insight on our competitors’ strategies and where we stand in comparison:

  1. Visit your top five competitors’ sites and read their About Us pages.
  2. Create a document and plug in their About Us page overviews. Do the same for your site.
  3. Go through each entry and delete any mentions of company names.
  4. Read through descriptions and highlight the common themes you see. (I’m guessing “great customer service” and “years of experience” might be mentioned in a few of them.)
  5. Share it with your team or anyone that understands your business and see if they can correctly identify your description as well as the descriptions from your competitors.

This exercise alone will show you if and how you stand out. But it’s more likely to show the sameness that exists in our industry and the opportunity we now must create differentiators.

Jantsch also suggests talking to our clients. Knowing what they want and giving them exactly that is the best way to stand out. Here are his thoughts on questions we can ask:

  1. Why did you choose us in the first place?
  2. Why do you stay with us?
  3. What do we do that others don’t?
  4. What could we be doing for you that we currently don’t?

So What?

Jantsch says: “Better than your competition” is the enemy of “different than your competition.” Also, better often spirals downward to “better price” … and we know what that means.

Being different is where the profit is!


Everyone has a different idea of what a successful practice is. The practice you want is personal because it is based on what “successful” means to you. I help practitioners focus on the strategies, tactics, tools, and tech to build/grow/scale their versions of successful practices. If you want some help with that, e-mail me at rod@rodburkert.com.

The National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts (NACVA) supports the users of business and intangible asset valuation services and financial forensic services, including damages determinations of all kinds and fraud detection and prevention, by training and certifying financial professionals in these disciplines.

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