Overcoming the threat of competition

It’s not enough to be the best if no one realizes you’re there.

In the battle against competition, our talents and skills are hopelessly lost unless we find a way to fascinate our listener.

Meet your arch-enemies, the 3 threats to communication: distraction, competition, and commoditization.

  • Distraction threatens your connection with others.
  • Competition threatens your ability to stand out and win.
  • Commoditization threatens your relationships and loyalty.

Today I want to focus on competition.

The problem with “survival of the fittest”

We grew up with a myth. The myth says: Try hard to be “better.” Be better than everyone else. Better than the other students in the classroom, better than the other players on the team, better than the other applicants. We’ve been taught to compete by copying and then surpassing the top performers at school, at work, and in the gym.

The reality, however, is that “better” is not better.

Better is a mirage. It keeps you chained to the same way of working as your competition.

Better is temporary.

Better is a flimsy edge that can be toppled in a millisecond by someone with a bigger following, a lower price, a more convenient location, a fancier degree, a shinier award, a newer technology, a more skillful skill.

Better is not always better. Sometimes, it’s actually worse.

While competition can push people to be their best, it can also force them to run on a hamster wheel, going faster in the same direction as everyone else, instead of going in a different direction entirely.

When you successfully differentiate yourself, however, you become the go-to person in your category for one particular reason. This is when you can start to charge higher prices and have a lot more control in your market.

You not only establish the playing field…now you control it.

Better vs. Different

Different is BETTER than better.

Different doesn’t try to turn you into something else. Different allows you to highlight the singular traits you already have within you. You aren’t necessarily better than your competition. But you are already different.

As a marketplace becomes ever more crowded, strengths matter less than differences.

Strengths become the standard. Competing on the basis of strengths forces you into an endless cycle of incremental improvements in which it’s hard to outdo the competition.

Remember: when competition increases, strengths matter less. Differences matter far more.

When everyone offers more or less the same product or service, fascinate your customers by leading with your Advantages.

To know what others want and expect from you, and how you deliver it like nobody else, you need to look at yourself from the perspective of how the world sees you. This means combatting the competition by focusing not only on how your offering is different, but also on how you, the person, are essential to that solution.”The higher the income, the more the person is paid for who they are, rather than what they do.” —Dan Kennedy, author and marketing entrepreneurNo matter what your profession, you need a specialty of some kind—a signature way of adding value. Your Fascination Advantage® is the easiest and fastest way to discover what makes you unique and to craft a message about your specialty.

What tactics have you used to stand out in a competitive market? Tell us in the comments!


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About the author

Sally Hogshead

Sally skyrocketed to the top of the advertising world in her early 20s, fascinating millions of consumers for clients such as MINI Cooper and Coca-Cola. Since then, she’s published two New York Times bestsellers on the science of fascination, and is one of only 172 living members in the Speaker Hall of Fame. Over a million professionals have taken the Fascination Advantage® personality test to discover how others perceive their communication.

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