How do you differentiate yourself from your peers?

Unique Value Proposition

A fairly common question. And an important one.

I answered this on an online forum recently, and it is worth sharing those thoughts here.

As with much of what I say: start by being deliberate about who you are, what you do, and how you do it.

The Answer

Start by asking yourself: What do you want people to say about you when you are not in the room?

How do you want to be known? When people talk about you, how do you want them to describe you?

Now go back to your business: how do you become that person? And how do you manage your actions to always reinforce that person?

As part of this exercise also consider: 
– What do you enjoy doing? 
– What do you enjoy learning? 
– What comes naturally to you?

Use this information to create a description that can apply to you and only you (it may not be one single trait, but it is a combination of traits). Then be that person, and project it clearly.

It also helps to do all this with a brainstorming partner, so you can talk it through out loud.

Making it yours

By starting with how you want to be known, you are starting from the goal. This will encompass how people view your skill levels as well as your personality. What is the experience, in other words, of working with you.

Then analyzing your abilities and preferences – and being honest about these – will fill in the steps required to achieve that goal.

Complete both lists of questions, and then create continuity between it all. Now decide how you can embed these behaviors and skills into every interaction you have with a client.

This approach will strike the correct balance of ambitious and realistic, and will set you apart in a consistent way.