In the book,Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill shares a story about Henry Ford charging a company a large sum of money (for the times) to solve a problem the company had been struggling to untangle. Ford completed the task quickly, received his payment, and then proceeded — immediately — to share his solution. Seeing how fast Ford had worked, the folks who hired him became angry. They felt hoodwinked.
But, Mr. Ford replied, “Whether it took me five minutes or five months, you got the result you were looking for when you hired me. You didn’t hire me for how long it would take. You hired me for the expertise and value I bring to the table and those qualities have taken me my entire life to accumulate.”
In other words, Ford’s unique level of expertise and experience — expertise and experience that the business owners did not have — is what gave his work its value.
As business owners and entrepreneurs, we need to have enough confidence in our goods and services that we can ask for the price they are worth. And we need to know that our customers are comfortable with the value they receive from us. Setting a fair price for both parties will require reflecting on what goes into your goods and services in the first place.
So, what are your knowledge, experience, expertise, and the products and services built from them, really worth?
Typically, we compete with many others who offer the same goods and services as we do. But are they really the same? What sets you apart from your competitors? What is your edge?
If you are a truly singular source for the goods and services you provide, you can charge for it. So how do we differentiate ourselves from the crowd? How do we ensure that we are being properly paid for the uniqueness of the work and skills we provide?
Here are some suggestions for highlighting our important stand-out differences:
Highlight Your Degrees and Credentials:
Make known proudly and broadly the degrees, certifications and other relevant sources of learning and knowledge that you have accumulated. Emphasize the differences between you and your competition with pride, while maintaining a positive perspective toward the others in your field.
Let your prospects know you are their best choice because you are the most highly qualified expert.
Share Your Experience:
One qualification that only life can bestow on you is experience. If you’ve overcome enormous obstacles, achieved something not everyone can, learned about the world through extensive travel, or done anything else that makes you one-of-a-kind, share those experiences in your blogging and other marketing to help set yourself apart.
Establish Your Credibility:
Have you been published as an expert in your field in a journal or on the web? Has your story been the feature article in a newspaper, magazine, business website or related blog? Perhaps your work, research, or ideas have changed or led the way in your industry. If another source has used and credited your ideas, knowledge, and example–that counts towards your legitimacy.
Demonstrate Your Unique Work Style:
You work faster, your materials are of higher quality, or your knowledge is deeper than the competition’s. It’s easier to work with you, you have a streamlined process, or your customer service is world-class. Your ways of working are unique, and you can highlight them to distinguish yourself from the masses.
Prove Your Results:
Let your customers know the result they expect to receive when you are hired will be the result you intend to provide. They can expect to be satisfied. You stand behind your work. (Not everyone does.)
Stand Out, and Charge What You’re Worth
Henry Ford was able to charge for his services because his credentials, experiences, credibility, working style, and results were and are the stuff of legend. He knew exactly how to capitalize on his uniqueness.
Now, your name may not be as readily recognizable as Ford’s, but you can still be as great. Whether you are constructing an exciting website, building a network of connections within your business community, or meeting with new customers eager to hire you, always remember to capitalize on your uniqueness.
This is the path to business growth and success that fits you. And isn’t that what it’s all about?