How can I differentiate myself from the competition?
If you show the same products as everyone else, it will be difficult to anticipate the profit margins you might need to sustain your needs. When you show the same products as your competition, the one who receives the order is normally the one who has the lowest price. There are several supply houses that produce lines that are common to our industry; however, they do this and are great with their service.
The problem is that when everyone is selling the same products to the public, it becomes less profitable. In order to compete in the marketplace, we must bring something to the sales table that is different yet appealing. This takes knowledge, creativity and research of what the client needs and what the competition offers. It is important to offer the unique and creative lines, often presenting us an offering that looks different yet will fit our clients’ budgets. Our prospects and clients have a budget that is often prepared in advance or set by a board or committee. It pays to be different—service is the way we keep retention and the confidence of our clients.
—Stephen Capper, A-1 Awards