the end results you pinpointed in
Can you narrow the definition of
what you do, where you do it, when
you do it, or who you do it for that
would enable you to claim a differentiating advantage?
The thinking behind “Who, Where and
“When” differentiation goes something like this: If you can’t legitimately
and credibly claim that you are the best
in your field, how can you narrow the
definition of your field or highlight an
aspect of your business so that you can
be the best or unique in something?
The most common ways you can do
this are by digging up your “Who, Where
and When” variables; for example:
• Geography/location (the only busi-
ness speaker in Pittsville)
• Type of customer (the only speaker
• Stage of life or business (the only
speaker for women’s groups with
participants who are experiencing
“Upper Why” differentiation answers a
key question that is always at the back
of a potential client’s mind: “Why
should I believe you have the capabil-
ity to do what you say you can do?”
What do you tell your clients to
give them more confidence that you
can actually deliver the goods?
Finding compelling points of difference
depends on how relevant the narrower
definition of your field is to your clients
and customers, and on how obvious the
connection is between your claim and
Do you have a unique approach in the
work you do? You might have a comprehensive system or discovery process,
or a single step of an established process
that you do especially well. Or perhaps
there’s a secret ingredient you add to a
popular recipe that makes it even better.
If you’re like most speakers (and,
indeed, like most people), the answer is
a resounding, “I don’t know.” In fact,
most people are intuitive about the job—
they just do it naturally. As a result, they
never look into their own methodology
with any depth.
The “How” of what you do is as
unique to you as who you are. No one
is wired quite the same way you are,
and no one has the same set of formative experiences or perspectives. For
better or worse, you have a unique
way of viewing the world around you.
Things that may seem obvious to you are
totally ignored by others faced with the
same challenge. You may pick up certain
pieces of the puzzle that other people
leave on the floor.