Sales Differentiation

Lee B. Salz

Sales Differentiation



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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.

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Analysis and key concepts


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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Many useful tips to:

  • Understand that every obstacle that arises in a sales negotiation is actually an opportunity to differentiate yourself.
  • Remember that price will always be the deciding factor in the absence of significant differentiators.
  • Recognise that a good salesperson is first and foremost someone who is genuinely interested in helping their customers.

Lee B. Salz is a world-renowned expert in sales management, and founder of Sales Architects and The Revenue Accelerator, supporting entrepreneurs and executives across all kinds of business sectors, create winning sales strategies and processes. He is a featured columnist for The Business Journals, as well as having been featured in The Wall Street Journal, CNN, The New York Times, ABC News, and numerous other publications, which have talked about him and his work. In addition to being a speaker and conducting workshops on a variety of sales-related topics, he is the award-winning author of six books, including Sales Differentiation, and Hire Right, Higher Profits. A native of New York City and New Jersey, he now resides with his family in Minneapolis. 

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