Differentiation by Beverly Hobbs Shea

Interesting word when we see it in print – a noun that

speaks to the act of differentiating. The root is the word

differentiate, which the dictionary tells us is more of a

verb: to form or mark differently/ to change or alter/ to

perceive the difference or to make different/ to become

unlike or dissimilar. In biology, it speaks of the change

from generalized to specialized.

I remember years ago there was an advertisement that spoke

of certain company representatives as being different at

birth. While I don’t believe that all who work under a

certain banner are superior (the intimation), I do believe

that there are certain innate traits that individuals are

born with, and also that there are traits that can be

enhanced, cultivated, and improved by outside influences.

After approximately 43 years in the real estate business

(yes, a very early start) and as my only profession, I’ve

witnessed many trends and cycles. I’ve always cringed at

how easy it is to get into the field, how difficult it is

to uphold a standard, and how often both the public and the

wannabes are fooled by the commitment required – a

commitment that extends beyond the who you know to what you

really know. There are no substitutes for the qualities

required for success and longevity in any business; we

know what they are. What should decide whether or not any

business person “brings it” is whether or not they can

execute the plays and bring about the intended goal (and in

so doing how they can differentiate themselves from the

rest of the pack).

I was once told that the more successful a person became,

the less they needed to advertise and tout their victories.

I’ve found this to be true. There is a certain freedom in

whatever degree of anonymity may exist, in letting others

refer and recommend based on past experience, in not making

promises that can’t be kept, and in exceeding expectations.

It’s the flying-under-the-radar “aha” moments that prompt

the real recognition that manifests in repeat business and

counts as the differentiation that matters.