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Learn the key ideas of the book by Lee B. Salz

Sales Differentiation

How to conquer the market through differentiation

Contrary to general assumption, production differentiation is not the sole responsibility of the marketing department: once they have dealt with the task of creating the positioning strategy, and differentiating the product or service from the competition, an important part of the work then lies with the people responsible for selling it. Salespeople are the ones who add intrinsic value, context, and a human touch to the strategy. By positioning themselves as problem solvers, not only are they able to differentiate what they sell, but also how they sell it. Sales Differentiation reveals 19 ways to show your buyers how you can differ from your competition, so that you can close deals at the prices you want.

Sales Differentiation
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Differentiating means positioning ourselves differently from the competition, and getting customers to see us as problem solvers

The hardest thing for a salesperson is to differentiate themself from the multitude of other sellers plying their goods. Practically everyone presents themselves to potential customers as being the best: "we have the best product, we are the best company, we offer the best conditions."

Unfortunately, not only does this way of presenting yourself fall short of the mark, but it is also often irritating, because it can provoke an instant reaction of annoyance and scepticism from those on the receiving end. 

It should not be you yourself who is saying that you are the best, but rather you need to make sure that others are speaking well of you on your behalf.

To this end, you need to present yourself as being different,and make sure that you are perceived as a problem solver, and someone who is capable of finding good solutions to help customers achieve their goals.

A good introductory speech to a potential customer might start like this: “I’m not going to tell you that our product is the best because I’m sure every other salesperson tells you that. Today, I will share with you some differences in what we offer that our clients find beneficial, and you can decide for yourself if those are meaningful to you.”

If you want to close deals at the price you have set, you must start out on the right foot, and understand that the role of problem solver is essential to lay the foundations for a good negotiation.


The key ideas of "Sales Differentiation"

Differentiating means positioning ourselves differently from the competition, and getting customers to see us as problem solvers
It is not a question of being unique, but of being “different”, and proposing valid solutions that have value for customers
Price becomes the deciding factor in the absence of other differentiating parameters
Not all differentiating factors are equally important to those who make purchasing decisions. It is up to the salesperson to guide people in the decision-making process
How you sell makes you different, not just what you sell
We need to be like detectives trying to understand why a customer should be interested in us and our products
Word choice is a vital tool in a salesperson's toolbox
We must master the art of asking questions and resolving customer “concerns”
Differentiation is an ongoing process, and the final but most important element is the salesperson themself
Take-home message

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