Imagine if you could differentiate yourself by changing the way you sell. Don’t rely on the differences in your product or service, but change the way you sell. Even though it is almost 2015, there are still so many sales people who push product
superiority as a key differentiator. As if the demo is the entire sale.
I’ve heard it a million times: “Clients know if the demo is “good” or “bad” depending on how well the sales rep tells their story.” But how one person views your products and services versus another can vary depending on their needs, past experiences, and the knowledge they bring to the table. However, so many times sales reps begin the conversation with what they believe differentiates their offerings from their competition. They do not take into account that the “new” functionality that just was announced in a product release may have been in the client’s previous products and services for several years. Or, that the key differentiator is about minimizing risk of implementation, and not at all about the product or service.
David Brock states it well in his blog, You Can’t Get What You Want by Focusing on What YOU Want
. He says it seems so simple, yet almost all the time we focus on “What’s in it for me” when we should be focusing on “What’s in it for the customer/partner/etc.”
What if you were to talk with a client to better understand what they are trying to accomplish, how they are planning on doing it, and understanding their goals, risks and priorities, from their point of view? And what if you were to sit back and think through how you may possibly solve their specific goal, or challenge an approach they have set forth based on your previous experience of a like type of client? You would definitely be able to differentiate by changing the way you sell.
Of course, you will say, “But I have to build my pipeline, work deals and close deals. I don’t have time to waste on those that are not buying now. I have quarterly quotas to meet.” But it has been proven that over time, if you can talk to enough people at the right levels of the organization – who can potentially buy your products and services, and they are confident that you truly want to help them achieve their goals – then you will build your pipeline and work deals that have a better chance of closing since you know your client
, and have had early discussions
with them to influence the path to the client’s success. Now, that’s a differentiator!
Janice Mars, principal and founder of SalesLatitude, is a senior business and sales executive with more than 30 years of experience helping companies build successful sales teams. She has parlayed that experience to help her clients to improve their sales processes, accurately forecast revenues, ensure focus on winnable opportunities, and attain consistent results.
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