What Is Your Distinctive Competence?

Bob Schultek
Bob Schultek

In their book, Tuned In (Stull, Myers & Scott), the authors use the term “distinctive competence” to define the unique value produced by an organization for their customers. This is not your core competence but rather an outward looking principle that is more profound than what your company does well and more vital for your sustainable growth.

Customers choose to work with companies that solve their problems better than anyone else. You earn this preference by gaining a comprehensive understanding of your customer’s goals and needs, and then by shaping your core competency into a unique offering that produces results for customers which resonate with them. Your customers buy this total experience.

Your distinctive competence is the nexus of your uncommon offering – your exclusive expertise, the one you “own” in the market – and how you use it to create “breakthrough experiences” for customers.

Your distinctive competence guides the branding and promotion of your Company. It drives your selling strategy and new product or service development. It tells you which business functions to own and which to outsource. It’s what produces value for your customers and clearly separates you from competition.

Breakthrough experiences integrate all of your “touches” with a customer from first interaction to post-sale support. This cycle includes:

  • The Discovery Experience – convincing customers that you can solve their problem;
  • The Buying Experience – demonstrating commitment to deliver what you promise;
  • The Packaging Experience – presenting your offering in a manner that communicates its value;
  • The Using Experience – making it simple for customers to implement your product or service;
  • The Support Experience – providing prompt, personal service support.

While the breakthrough experience you create will typically include all 5 of these touches, you may choose to focus on one or more of them that strengthens your distinctiveness and resonates most with customers.

The most productive, profitable solutions leverage your distinctive competence to resolve customer problems and achieve their goals.

What is your distinctive competence?

How do you use it to produce value for your customers?

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