The content of this Blog is provided as a result of some good questions I was asked following a recent webinar on Selling Value and Differentiation. First, let’s set the record straight- we are ALL in sales! Everytime a person speaks he/she wants to be effective, credible, convincing, impacting, – the list goes on – if they want to secure their “Desired Productive Outcome”.
It behooves all of us to understand the skills of presenting our ideas to others, so here is an overview of takeaways for you… First be certain you are talking to the person who can help you advance you cause; Second, do all you can to understand them and their goals (“Seek first to understand, then you will be better understood”). A needs-analysis or at least a cursory questioning process to understand their needs and wants, etc. will normally be of great help in advancing the relationship. Thirdly, when you feel the timing is right present your ideas, solutions and desired outcomes. If stet two and step three are out of order it will usually short-circuit the process.
So how do we stand out in this process? In our U. S. Learning “Differentiation Model” we have seven types of differentiation. Even if you are selling a commodity, you can still stand out with a solid differentiation strategy. The seven types of differentiation are: Product, Relationship, Process, Experiential, Technological, Marketing, and Price.
To put this in memorable form, here are my suggestions:
- Try to offer a product or service that is different from and better than your competition!
- People want to do business with those they know, like and trust, so make relationship building and communication a priority.
- Have a process of doing business that responds to the specific needs of each customer. It is worth the trouble – if you can make it easy and comfortable for them to buy from you, they will often stay with you!
- Experiential is all about your service model. Make it extraordinary and perform customer service miracles when you can. You will be standing out if you can make them say WOW!
- Use technology to your advantage every way you can. You will appear more sophisticated than your competitors.
- If you can outsell your competition, all other categories can be the same!
- Succumb to price cutting only when it is a last resort, and if you go there, go reservedly. Preserving your company’s margin should be a key objective.