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Scott McKain

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Four ironies of business success…

Here’s an important point to make about distinction – you aren’t going to obliterate your competition just because you create distinction.

As great as Apple has been…Microsoft, Google, HP, and many others are still around and operating profitably.

  • What Apple has done – and you can do – is to separate yourself from the pack.

QuestionYour goal should be achieving the highest level of business success. In the book, Create Distinction, I write about:

  • Level One: Sameness — there’s no discernible difference between you and the competition and customer decisions are primarily based upon price
  • Level Two: Differentiation — customers perceive a difference between you and the pack of competitors at Level One that may (or may not) be important enough to drive them to do business with you; and,
  • Level Three: Distinction – which means that you are attracting customers to do business with you because you are connecting with them in a manner they find remarkable and compelling.

It should be obvious that you cannot achieve that level if you are focusing internally.

In other words, if you’re more concerned about product and sales than relationships and service, you’ll be trapped in the middle with every other organization that has similarly limited thinking.

There are (at least) four great ironies in business.

  1. Those organizations and professionals who focus on customers and their experiences tend to make more money than those who focus on making money.  To cite the overused examples…there’s a reason that Apple makes more than Dell…Southwest has earned more than United.
  2. You don’t win in business by beating the competition.  You succeed in business because the connections you have with your customers are so distinctive and appealing they attract more customers.  To win, don’t focus on winning…focus on connecting.
  3. Businesses talk about “growth” as though acquisition is the only aspect required, but the foundation of growth is keeping what you already possess.  True growth comes from the combination of acquisition…and retention.  If you’d plan a retention strategy with as much passion and precision as you work on acquisition, you would dramatically increase the likelihood that you will achieve the growth you desire.
  4. Making the competition irrelevant doesn’t happen by focusing on the competition.  While, as mentioned earlier, you aren’t going to eliminate the competitors…you can erode their relevancy.  That only happens, however, when you are so distinctive that it makes little sense for customers and prospects to even consider other alternatives.
  • Understand those four ironies…build your business to Level Three…and you will rise above the competition.

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Scott McKain is a business leader, bestselling author, and Hall of Fame professional speaker.
Scott's latest book, "The Collapse of Distinction: Stand Out and Move Up While Your Competition Fails" reached the #1 spot on Amazon.com list of Customer Service Bestsellers! He is the author of two #1 additional business bestsellers (Amazon.com & 800-CEO-READ): "What Customers REALLY Want" (currently available in trade paperback) and "ALL Business is Show Business."
He is the Co-founder and Principal of The Value Added Institute, a think-tank that examines the role of the customer experience in creating significant advances in the level of client loyalty, and has appeared on multiple occasions as a commentator and analyst on FOX News Channel. His platform presentations have run the gamut from the White House lawn with the President in the audience carried live on CNN and NBC's "Today" show...to a remote outpost near the Amazon...all 50 states, seven Canadian provinces...and from Singapore to Sweden...Mexico to Morocco.
An inductee into the Professional Speakers Hall of Fame, he is also a member of "Speakers Roundtable" -- an elite, invitation-only group of twenty of the world's top business speakers.