what do you do when you are selling the same thing everyone else is selling?

if you are like most little biz builders your product idea was the catalyst for your business. you had an idea for a product or some sort of expertise you wanted to share, and built your business around that product.

now the hard work begins.

now you have to figure out how to stand out amongst your competition, to market and sell your thing.

if your product (be it a physical product, a service you provide or information that you share) is innovative in some way – if it fills a gap in the marketplace, is something people really needed that no one was offering, if it different in and of itself – then it is easier to focus on the benefits of your thing and the target who needs it.

but, as is more often the case, your product is probably pretty darn similar to a lot of other products, and you are probably finding it hard to stand out amongst the competition.

my little biz is photography, so let’s use that as an example. while i can make every effort to have my own unique style, to target my own audience of right people, and to offer an experience or packages that are a bit different from others, when it comes down to it my product is basically the same as any other photographer: images.

the people who are looking to get professional photography will generally make their decision based on some combination of the price and what you get for it, the style of the photographs, and the expertise/skill of the photographer. and as a pool, all of us photographers are competing with each other to stand out and get those people to choose us. we are all trying to get a little piece of the same pie.

i can do a search for local photographers and have a look at what everyone else is offering and try to find some sort of gap in the marketplace. i can say my photographs are ‘candid’, my prints are ‘high quality’, my studio is ‘child-friendly’, or whatever i want to try to stand out. but in the end the other photographers are doing the same thing. the differences between us are quite small.

so what do you do when your product doesn’t have an obvious point of difference?

you go back to the marketplace and target people who are different. you find out what people need that no one else is addressing and frame the benefits of what you offer differently. your product doesn’t become different, the way you frame it and who you target it to becomes different.

instead of trying to grab a piece of that pie of people who are looking for professional photographers (or whatever it is you sell) look at all the rest of people. why aren’t they hiring professional photographers? 

have a look at the objections that exist in the marketplace about the thing you sell. objections are the fears/misconceptions/stereotypes/concerns/questions people have surrounding your product.

if you can find an objection that is not being addressed by any of your competition, and you can figure out a way to address it effectively, then you have just found

  • a point of difference for your business, a real benefit that you can market and sell
  • a target audience, a little niche that you can directly target with your marketing and selling strategies
  • a basis for your brand message, something you can shout out loud about your little biz that will stand out

maybe it is time to stop looking at your product and your business as it fits in to the niche that already exists. instead look at it with a fresh set of eyes – change the way you view what you do so that you can sell your thing in a new way to new people. make your own pie!

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