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15 Sales Experts Share HOW Differentiate Yourself From The COMPETITION
I’m a salesperson, coffee addict, and 4-time marathoner. Jenny Poore www.salesengine.com/blog @SalesEngine HELLO!
“We are just better than Competitor XYZ.” We all want to believe that we do a better job than anyone else, that no one else can compare. And while confidence is an important part of succeeding in sales… If you’re like most people, you probably believe:
That’s not true. Here’s why…
A company’s success is largely based on its ability to articulate and execute why it is different AND better than the competition. “ “
Being “better” than someone else won’t get you very far. It might just make you feel good in the short-term. And assuming that your competitor will never “catch up” to you is a dangerous game to play.
Successful salespeople seek to be different, not just “better”. Because being different makes them better (i.e. more successful) in the long run.
I’m a salesperson & I wanted to know how the sales experts out there would answer this question: “What is ONE way a salesperson can differentiate him or herself from the competition?”
It turns out, there are plenty of ways to be different. You just have to choose a few and test them out.
Here is what the sales experts had to say…
“A good friend (and SVP of Sales) jokes about the public’s perception of salespeople. He says “enough about me, what do you think about me?”. A sales rep can differentiate themselves by being genuinely interested in their prospect and their prospect’s needs and wants. As Stephen Covey said, “Seek first to understand and then be understood.” @DanDade
Ask shorter questions. Salespeople in general don’t ask enough questions and those that do ask ones that are far too complicated. The best questions are the short questions that follow up on a response the customer just shared. A few short questions I like include: “Why? How come? Could you give me an example? Could you share with me more?” @TheSalesHunter
“One way to differentiate? Build, value, and nurture relationships before you need them. This means not just prospects but peers, competitors, partners, past customers and more. Use the amazing tools we have around us now- CRM, social, content, drip marketing, contextual follow-up reminders, etc. – to exponentially scale your ability to foster and improve those relationships without having to take all day to do it. Seriously, that’s it. Be the person who cares more before there’s anything specific in it for you. It takes time and commitment, and a daily discipline, but those who do it see a widening gap between themselves and their competitors.” @HeinzMarketing
Be prepared, be sincere and ask great questions! Now more than ever prospects are inundated with sales calls, voicemails, and emails. It is crucial that we constantly differentiate ourselves from all the noise. I have found that if I am prepared (i.e. knowing about the prospect’s business and the potential challenges they face), sincere (using the phrase ‘am I catching you at a good time’ or ‘I know you aren’t expecting my call’) and ready with great relevant open-ended questions that this has opened up a ton of opportunity that we would not have otherwise had. @Acquirent
“Salespeople can differentiate themselves by focusing everything- I mean everything- they do on What’s In It For Them (WiifT) of the prospect or buyer. Preparing for the sales meeting with the WiifT focus is the beginning. During the sales conversation is where the biggest difference is made. Ditch your ‘pitch’ and make anything you say connected to or followed by the reason it is relevant to that person, situation, and company. It takes work to be focused on WiifT instead of you and your solution, which is why so few of your competitors will do it.” @SalesProInsider
Ask smart questions. This actually requires two interrelated skills that are in short supply among salespeople: outside-in mentality and proper preparation. Outside-in is the approach that understands that the best way to get what you want is to put yourself in the customer’s shoes and figure out how to help them get what they want. You need to prepare properly to ensure that you ask questions that get to the heart of the problems and opportunities. That’s the key to differentiation and the first step on the road to trust. @JackMalcolm
“If I could choose only one way to differentiate myself as a salesperson it would be caring. I would love to put business acumen above caring, but there are plenty of smart people who don’t generate trust because they are self-oriented. I would love to put resourcefulness above caring, because helping your clients requires new ideas. But caring is what ensures your client that the new ideas are going to be implemented. I’d love to put determination above caring, because you aren’t going to succeed without a pigheaded determination. But you have to care enough to keep pursuing difficult outcomes.” See what I did there? I chose only one but I weaved in three more attributes. The one thing you can do to differentiate yourself is to be the whole package.” @Iannarino
The great salesperson differentiator is knowledge. The sales person who knows more about the industry they sell in, the business workflows, operations, the competition, government mandates, and the challenges of their customers wins! Sales is all about contextual knowledge, and those badass sales people with the greatest command of this contextual knowledge will be wearing the champions belt. @Keenan
“One way a salesperson can differentiate themselves from their competition is to focus on adding value in every interaction with a prospect. Ask questions and listen with a focus on helping the prospect solve a problem or reach a goal versus trying to sell them something so you can reach yours.” @PaulAlves63
The ONE way a salesperson can differentiate him or herself from their competitors is to ask high-value, thought-provoking questions that make prospects sit up and think. Most salespeople THINK they do an effective job asking questions but the reality is that most fail to ask enough deep, probing questions to really learn what the prospect needs. By asking these types of questions, you can climb into the mind of your prospect and find out what is really important to them, the challenges they face, the decision-making process and the motivators that will influence their buying decision. @Kel_Robertson
“A great way salespeople to differentiate themselves is by NOT using ‘typical salesperson’ language such as “Are you the person responsible for…” or “If I could show you a way to save 20%, would you be interested?”. There’s fascinating research showing that when you use stock phrases like these, buyers don’t even hear what comes next. You could tell them their dog died and they’d say “sorry, not interested”. They’ve already pigeonholed you and made up their mind whether or not to continue the conversation (usually not).” @TopSalesDog
Focus on the buyer’s objectives, not their pain, not their needs, not on product fit, but their objectives; leave your product in the car. People love to talk about their objectives, and they will tell all kinds of things you otherwise would not hear. If you feel you can help them move towards or achieve their objectives, they will want to talk to you. But most salespeople want to talk solution before they even know what, if anything, they are solving. Focus on objectives and impacts you can deliver to those. @TiborShanto
“I believe that the one term, which sets top sales performers apartment from the also-rans, is customer focus. Outstanding sales results depend on the ability to think from the customer’s point of view as well as understanding the customer’s agenda, buying cycle and best interests. … Customer focus also means taking the customer seriously—today, the salesperson who clings to the product orientation of a decade ago is losing ground.” @TopSalesWorld
“Adding value at every interaction. Show up at a meeting with success stories, case studies or white papers that the client can learn from even if they don’t buy from you. Publish (or reprint what your company publishes) high value videos, podcasts, research papers, articles or opinions in your market that position you as a thought leader not just a ‘seller’. When buyers see you as an expert in the marketplace, they seek you out. You are no longer an intrusive salesperson but an expert that can add value to their business.” @EngageColleen
High-performing salespeople heal broken situations rather than pitch, pander, and prospect. @DanWaldo
How will you be different and better?
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