How to Differentiate Yourself From Your Competition When Selling
Selling can be a tough job, especially when your market is saturated with other salespeople offering similar products or services. Competition in all industries is fierce and getting tougher. Even if you have a great product, you can still struggle in sales unless you differentiate yourself from your competition. Convincing potential clients that you’re the right person to solve their problems is fundamental to sales success. In this article, we will explore how you can differentiate yourself from your competition when selling to achieve superior outcomes.
What It Means to Differentiate Yourself
In sales, differentiation is about standing out among your competition. To be effective at differentiating yourself in the sales process, you need to get inside your client’s head and understand what it is that makes them (and their company) unique. Remember, prospects may be bombarded with pitches from multiple salespeople at a time—so your approach must stand out if you want to be different. To buyers, most sales pitches sound the same, especially if they’re not actively looking for a new solution and are not giving you their full attention.
A good way to think about how best to differentiate yourself is by thinking of your target audience problems. What information can you put in front of them that will allow them to realize you understand their situation? This approach allows you to step into your prospect’s shoes and see what they are seeing. How can you overcome these obstacles or minimize their impact on your presentation? What information can you provide that might help address some of these concerns before the prospect brings them up? Most sales reps jump into their product pitch first. When you take the time to communicate with prospects and convey your understanding of their business, you’ve taken the first step in being different.
Set Yourself Apart
Now that you know your target customers’ problems, it’s time to set yourself apart. The answers to the following questions will help.
- What makes you better than your competitors?
- Why should your customers buy from you?
- How will they benefit by working with you instead of someone else?
- How will they be happier using your product or service rather than a competitor’s?
- What do they get out of choosing you over someone else?
Being able to answer these questions is crucial in achieving sales success. People don’t want to make decisions based on guesses. They want to make informed decisions based on facts. Be sure you can articulate what separates you from your competition.
Show prospects how you will solve their problems if they choose you—and then deliver on those promises. This builds trust, which leads to repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals down the road. Most importantly, it increases your chances of standing out and winning the deal.
Another way to differentiate yourself is by being memorable. If your prospect remembers you over the others, then you’ve done your job right. The more memorable you are, the less likely it is that your competition will get an opportunity to win the sale from you. There’s nothing worse than following up with a client and hearing they went with a competitor without giving you a heads up. Rule number one, don’t be forgotten. In sales that can be the kiss of death.
So how do you make sure people remember you? Let’s break it down into three core elements:
- Delivery (the right words)
- Presence (how you show up)
- Voice (how you say what you say)
That said, there’s no size fits all in terms of what makes someone or something memorable. Sometimes a little bit of everything does. By understanding why prospects don’t buy, because they don’t see a big enough difference in what they have, you can position yourself as the alternative to the status quo. When you are the first one to present a problem to a prospect and they say, “I never thought of it like that before,” you are well on your way to being remembered.
However, in complex sales, standing out isn’t just good enough. You still must differentiate your solution from the competition. You need to position your solution as different from what your competitors are doing, whether it’s through value, proprietary technology, or approach. Until your prospects view your solution as unique, and differentiated as compared to the others, they will not have a compelling reason to change.
Be a Subject Matter Expert
You can also stand out among your competition by becoming a subject matter expert. When prospects view you as the expert in your industry, you can influence the buying criteria. As an example, if there are other businesses that do similar work, but it was you that wrote numerous articles or spoke at trade events, they’ll perceive you as the authority.
A key part of differentiating yourself from competitors is outlining all of your credentials, past clients, and other experiences you have that others do not. This includes social proof which allows your potential customers to see what others think about you or your solutions when making their buying decision.
You have to stand out in order to succeed as a salesperson. The best way to accomplish that goal is by capitalizing on everything that makes you—and your business—unique. When crafting any communication with buyers, sellers should always consider what sets them and their solution apart. It’s not enough to simply state your value proposition; you also need to remind people at every turn why they should choose you over everyone else.
Buyers do not appreciate the one size fits all approach. They appreciate customization and personalization. If you take the time to be unique you will see an increase in productivity. Being unique and personal may take more time upfront, but the results will be worth it in the long run.
Many people think sales is about talking. But in most cases, you will sell more by talking less. The best salespeople are not necessarily those who talk the most, but those who understand how to differentiate and demonstrate value the most. Differentiating yourself from the competition is more important today than ever and it will not happen by accident. It requires planning, training and most importantly practice. With careful planning and commitment, you will be much better positioned as the differentiated solution for your clients and be well on your way to winning more business.
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