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Consulting Group Identifies Success in Highly Competitive Environments

Thursday, June 1, 2006

The Society for the Advancement of Consulting (SAC®) has polled its worldwide membership on the subject of succeeding in highly competitive industries, such as travel, recreation, financial services, automotive, and so forth. SAC members consult with this constituency in nine countries.

"Competition opens markets," says SAC CEO Alan Weiss, Ph.D., "that's the good news. The tougher news is that it's not easy to stand out in the crowd." However there are keys to thriving in highly competitive environments.

"In a highly competitive environment, it's extremely important to ensure you understand your customers' business problems and how your offerings can help meet their needs," said Linda Popky, President of L2M Associates, a strategic marketing company located in Redwood City, CA.

"The key is articulating your key differentiators in a way that resonates with your customers--in their own language, not yours."

"For business-to-business selling, the key is to rise above the purchasing quagmire and reach out to the business leaders. Demonstrate to the leaders how your offering will deliver value to their customers and enable them to differentiate their offering in their markets. By fully understanding their needs and building around their challenges you will differentiate your offering and rise above the competition. Price will become a non-issue." - Adrian Ott, President of Exponential Edge. Inc. in Livermore, CA.

"Unless you show how you can meet the needs of the prospect, there will be no sale," observes Joe Liss, CPA, and expert in closely held businesses in New Orleans. "In addition, if you can identify a need they aren't aware of, you will close the sale and pretty much dictate your fee. Prospects want answers and are willing to pay for it if they believe you can deliver what you offer."

"Organizations who sell successfully in highly competitive markets cut through the clutter," said Jenny Schade, president of JRS Consulting in Wilmette, IL. "They know who their targets are and understand how to appeal to them."

"Simply put, understanding your target audiences before proceeding with marketing reduces your margin of error. After all, even the highest quality, most professionally-produced plans and materials will fall flat if their contents aren't meaningful to their intended audiences. When your communications and actions are based on your target audiences' needs and motivations, you can be confident that they will be meaningful to the people who you are seeking to reach - a pull rather than push strategy. The resources that you devote to market research now will pay off in spades when you move forward with marketing programs and materials that hit the mark."

"Our belief," concludes Weiss, "is that highly competitive markets are a great place to be if you have focus and objective assistance to make pragmatic decisions and not react to the competition. Superb external consultants can help you avoid the mistakes of reacting to the competition rather than forging your own road amidst the noise and fury."

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