What is Your Winning Difference? Reviewed by Momizat on . Any service can be replicated, leaving only the execution as a true differentiator. And your difference—your winning difference—is the reason people do business Any service can be replicated, leaving only the execution as a true differentiator. And your difference—your winning difference—is the reason people do business Rating: 0
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What is Your Winning Difference?

Any service can be replicated, leaving only the execution as a true differentiator. And your difference—your winning difference—is the reason people do business with you and not someone else. It sets you apart and makes you the best choice for your ideal client. The author shares three ways to find your winning difference.

What is Your Winning Difference?

Any service can be replicated, leaving only the execution as a true differentiator. And your difference—your winning difference—is the reason people do business with you and not someone else. It sets you apart and makes you the best choice for your ideal client.

Our leads and prospects see fewer differences between competing appraisers than ever, but that doesn’t mean they’re not looking for an edge. Word-of-mouth, search engines, and social media empower them to take charge and determine their best option.

So, this begs the question: How do you find your winning difference?

In the early 1960s, Rosser Reeves came up with the concept of the unique selling proposition. Though it has several components, the most important one for professionals like us is that our service states or symbolizes a beneficial feature that the competition cannot, does not, or will not offer.

That means your positioning doesn’t have to beat everyone else out. It simply has to appeal to your audience of leads and prospects in a way that’s unique from your competition.

3 Ways to Find/Create Your Winning Difference

Here are three ways to possibility-think about what your winning difference might be and how you can relate them to your practice development efforts.

1) The Crossroads Approach

To create a crossroads difference, take two seemingly unrelated ideas and bring them together. This is how many movies are crafted and promoted. For example, the film Speed was famously pitched as “Die Hard on a bus.” Clueless was “Jane Austen’s Emma set in 1995 Beverly Hills.”

You can create a crossroads USP by presenting something well-known to a new audience. You’re looking for two roads that are different enough to create some energy but not so different that you can’t realistically bring the roads together.

Like the merger of business valuation and exit planning consulting, for example.

2) The Metaphor Brand Approach

Sometimes, you can find an overarching metaphor that will make all your dominos fall. One of the best examples I can think of is Duct Tape Marketing. John Janstch offers something you can find in many places: marketing advice for small businesses. But the duct tape metaphor tells you the advice is practical, effective, and not terribly fancy. But it’ll work.

With this approach, you can create a USP using a metaphor to define your angle. You want your leads and prospects to understand what you’re all about instantly. I don’t think anyone will buy into Duct Tape Valuations, but what about using the word “bespoke” and some play on the meticulously handcrafted suits of Savile Row.

Observation: I know that many/most of you deplore the one-size-fits-all nature of the big data/DIY valuation websites. Yet, I know many practitioners who strive to institutionalize and document their systems and procedures so a valuation report can be produced with less friction and customization. It’s the opposite of bespoke.

3) The Persona-Driven Approach

If you can be reasonably interesting, your USP can simply be you. To different degrees, professionals in our industry like Shannon Pratt, Chris Mercer, Roger Grabowski, Nancy Fannon, and Jim Hitchner have all created persona-driven brands. They started with something ordinary (business valuations) and made it extraordinary through the force of their passion, perspective, and personality.

You might think such a persona/practice linkage could limit the growth (or future salability) of your firm. But each of the people I mentioned has learned to partner and delegate to create practices that go far beyond a single individual.

And if you create a persona-driven USP, you’ll need to keep showing up and continue building authority in whatever practice area or industry niche you want to be known for. Not many people are willing to do that. So, it turns out that the bar isn’t that high.

So What?

At the end of the day, you need a USP to answer two simple, related, painful questions: Why should someone retain you? What do you offer that makes it worth a lead or prospect’s time and money?

Once you got it, use your winning difference to dig in deep enough so that a computer or a competitor two clicks away can’t take it away.

But remember, the strongest winning difference won’t help if you don’t back it up with all the other actions that create a successful practice.

Resources That Can Help

From her book How to Fascinate, “Different is Better Than Better,” by Sally Hogshead.


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 and tactics to build/grow 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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