When it comes to marketing, it's time to start differentiating your home improvement company from everyone else. And here's how to do it.

For decades, home pros have told the story of their business. One company was founded by two brothers who learned the trade from their hard-working father. Another has been in business since 1946. This one has earned 17 major awards, and that one has a five-star rating.

Marketing experts have told small businesses to tell their story to sell products and services. The problem is that all of your competitors are doing this, too. Look at their websites, newspaper ads and door hangers. This type of marketing is called storytelling.

To be unique and make the biggest impact, it's time for home improvement businesses to switch to story-sharing.

Back in the day, if you produced hammers, you would simply display an ad with a picture of a hammer and the list price. When others started making hammers, you had to "up the ante." Your ads would list all the features of your hammer — the stainless steel construction with a comfort-grip handle.

Today, you want to separate from the other hammer-makers and share a story. Not from your company but from your customer. It takes a little longer and requires more thought and effort but you will see results.

To sell your hammer, tell prospects a story:

The Martins had recently lost the family dog, Buddy, of 14 years. Bob's young son, Jeff, was heartbroken. He spent nights sitting by Buddy's dilapidated doghouse. Bob took his son to the store to buy a hammer, lumber and nails. Together, they rebuilt Buddy's old doghouse.

When Jeff carefully hammered home the last nail, his dad sent him inside. For the big reveal, Bob and the family uncovered Jeff's eyes to show the perfectly painted, new doghouse with the name "Buddy Junior" on top and a puppy inside the door. Bob tried to hand his son the only hammer he'll ever need or want, but his son just wanted to hold his new friend.

Of course, that's a cheesy version of story-sharing, but don't discount the power of emotion when it comes to the stories from your customers.

A potential client may not be renovating their kitchen to renovate it. They may want to bring their family closer together by updating and expanding the room. And if they hear a story shared by another homeowner, it could strike a chord that helps you close the deal.

Set your company apart by skipping the storytelling and start the story-sharing. When you differentiate, you'll sell more and keep your company top-of-mind when it comes to their next project.