I hear this often and truth be told said it myself for a while. When I meet with clients and ask them what’s their USP (unique selling proposition) I would hear the same thing—“Our product (or service) is better than the competition.” Well, from both history and personal experience, I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t matter. My product is light years better than my primary competition, but I didn’t have people jumping ship. Here’s the hard truth and I hope you’re ready. You don’t have to be the best to get business. You have to be the first.


Image by Karuvadgraphy from Pixabay

I’m not first, what can I do?

Being the first in any category will command the most market share. However, most of us are not the first, so how do we win? We create a category in that sphere that we can be first in. (See sphere marketing.) That is where we will rest in the mind of our target audience. When their problem needs to be solved, they’ll think of us first because we are the first.




Let’s take a look at an example

In my first market back in Boston, I wasn’t the first provider of prayer cards which is my main seller. My competitor dominated it for decades before I got in. I tried coming in cheaper, but that didn’t work either (plus you don’t want to be the cheapest).


Occupy one position only

I couldn’t get anywhere until I created a category that I could be first in. Let me preface this by stating that you can only occupy one position in the mind of your target so don’t go for more than that.

Anyways, I researched my competitor, listened closely to my current funeral homes, and the ones that turned me away, to exploit their weakness and gain my market share.


My positioning changed from the best to the fastest

I could get it done when my competitor couldn’t and in an industry when death can happen at any time that matters. That’s what I’m still known for now even in new markets and that helps me gain new business.


How can you do the same?

Well first keep in mind that you can be the first in the same category IF your main competitor isn’t servicing that area since people prefer to buy local for trust and convenience.


If not, then do these things

Research your competitor thoroughly

What do they do well? Where are they deficient? What are they not offering that you can?


Consider a different target audience

Coke dominated the market for years and then Pepsi became the “Coke” for the new generation and rose market share to become number two.


Survey past and current clients

Why do they come to you? What do they like about you over your competitor? They’ve already done the research and made the decision. Listen for repeating phrases and your position will become apparent.


Embrace your new position—Don’t change it!

You can’t change people’s mind so if you already occupy that place don’t fight it, use it to grow.


Find a category and your business will grow

While you still want to be the best in your field since it’ll give you brand loyalty, you can’t use that as a position. Find a category you can first in and your business will grow. Until next time I wish you much success transforming your business into an amazing brand.


George Paul III


George Paul III is a branding expert and award-winning designer. He’s the Founder of Seize the Brand, an education platform designed to empower business owners by leveraging the power of branding to realize business and life goals.






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