How to Compete on Values

You want an unassailable advantage? You want a differentiation strategy that makes it more difficult for your competitors to compete? Competing on values gives you that competitive advantage, and it’s extremely difficult to combat. Here is how you might think about competing on your values.

The Reason You Make the Choice

There is a reason your business does things differently. Some of these choices can give you a competitive advantage in the marketplace—if you can compete on the values that underlie those decisions. The reasons that underlie certain decisions about how you do business can be a compelling platform from which to compete. This is easier to understand with an example.

I have a client that works in an industry where it is common to subcontract work and to receive a payment from the subcontractor for giving them that work. The money paid to the company who gave the subcontractor the work is often more profit than the company would make from their client. My client believes that he isn’t entitled to keep any portion the money his client paid for the subcontractor’s work. Especially if the client doesn’t know that the subcontractor is directly paying the company for having given them the work.

My client makes the choice not to accept payments from the subcontractors he uses because he believes it is dishonest, and because the profit from the subcontractor arrangement distorts the decision as to whether or not to subcontract work that really doesn’t need to be sent out. It also affects the choice of which subcontractor to use. It’s a shell game, a kickback, and he refuses to play because his values are honesty, integrity, transparency, and fiduciary trust (treating his client’s money like it is his own).

Those are the reasons that drive his decision to do business the way he does, and they are reasons worth competing on. His values resonate with his clients.

What are the values that drive your decisions?

Values Differentiate and Define

Your values can differentiate you and define you.

If the decisions that you take are different because they are attached to your values, you can be defined by those values. Your values demonstrate that there are some things that you care deeply about. They show that there are some things that you are unwilling to comprise, that there are things more important than money.

Those values, and the decisions you take based on those values, must be based on some value that is higher than your profit alone. They have to be meaningful enough that your client will share that value and understand how it serves them.

How do your values differentiate and define you?

Values Drives a Wedge between You and Your Competitors

When your values differentiate and define you, they drive a wedge between you and your competitors who sell on something less then values.

Your values provide your client with a story that goes to the heart of who you are. Your values speak to your purpose and meaning. They provide your prospective dream clients with an understanding and explanation as to “why” you do what you do—not just what you do.

Your values give life to the decisions you take in how you serve your clients. It’s one thing to compete on “what” you do, and it’s quite another to compete on “why” you do it. Providing the “why” drives a wedge between you and your competitors.

What reasons for why you do what you do will resonate with your clients and drive a wedge between you and your competitors?


What values does your company hold?

How do your values drive decisions about how you serve your clients?

How do these value differentiate and define you?

How do your values drive a wedge between you and your competitors?

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Filed under: Sales

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