What’s Your Competitive Advantage, Or Why Do People Buy From You?
I hope this finds you well. Welcome to this issue of the Executive Report, our twice-monthly article series bringing you valuable information on marketing, sales, and installation. Last issue, we discussed how to start flying a drone for your roofing business. In this issue, we’ll be discussing competitive advantage, how to define yours, and its purpose for your business.
At its core, competitive advantage is what makes your business special. It’s the reason people buy from you and not from someone else. This could be your quick lead times as you ship products faster than your competition or your proprietary designs that are superior to other solutions. Maybe you have around-the-clock service with experts on call. Whatever your advantage is, it greatly affects your business’s success.
Competitive advantage for a metal roofing contractor might differ from other industries. Maybe you have the best installation quality and every job you do turns out beautifully. Maybe you work with specialty metals like copper, offering something your competitors don’t. You might even have the best warranty, providing peace of mind for your customers.
The competitive advantage at Isaiah Industries is our ability to build relationships through service and support. We don’t put our relationship on hold when the product ships. We stay involved, ensuring each job is completed to the satisfaction of all parties. This means support from shipping to installation and beyond. We support our installers too, so our technical services team is on call to address issues as they arise. We pride ourselves on our rapid response to problems, personalized communication from the sale to the sign-off, in-depth questions to discover a personalized solution for each customer, and strategic next steps for customers to move forward with their roofing project.
Take our goals as an example and discover your own. You may already have an idea of your competitive advantage, but ask people in your company. Take their perspective, compare it to your answer, and then synthesize it into one reason you beat your competition. Whether it’s your people, product, service, or whatever else sets you apart, make it clear to your customers.
What if you can’t identify a competitive advantage for your company? Maybe you do decent work and provide adequate customer service, but don’t go above and beyond. Really think about what you offer. It might be something simple like your location or the service area you cover. Don’t think, “well, we’re the only option for miles around, so we don’t have to be that good to get business.” Instead, bring your best so customers are confident in choosing you. Build up your local reputation and solidify your presence as the “metal roofing guy” in your area.
If you still struggle with defining your advantage, ask customers for feedback. Maybe they’ll identify something you’ve overlooked or offer a new perspective. If nothing you find reveals an advantage you hold, work towards one. Decide to aim for one goal and see where it takes you. You might be surprised at how things turn out.
Whatever your competitive advantage is, shout it from the rooftops. Include it in all your marketing and emphasize it to new customers. If you struggle with finding a competitive advantage, consult your employees and survey your customers to see things in a new light.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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