How Are You Different?

If you are a salesperson, your prospective clients are going to ask you what makes you different. You absolutely must have a thoughtful, compelling answer.

If you are a sales leader, you need to prepare your team to answer this question. It isn’t the salesperson’s duty to define your differentiation strategy.

Here are some ideas about differentiating your offering:

There isn’t one thing. Say so. There likely isn’t one thing that differentiates you from  your competitors in a meaningful way. How you are different in a way that makes a difference for your clients is more complicated than that. You start your answer to the question of what makes you different with a statement that sounds like, “There isn’t one thing that makes us different. It’s four things combined that allows us to produce the results we produce and makes us different than other companies in our space.”

Share your values. If you are a values-based organization, that is the place to start. If what you do serves some greater mission, those underlying values will speak volumes to your dream clients. It’s easy for people to connect to the things that you care about when they are the things that they care about. Too many people fear going to values, but there isn’t anything more meaningful or powerful.

What you do differently. Even though you and your competitors both work in the same space, you don’t do things exactly the same way. Your processes are different. The things that you think are most important to producing results are different from the things that they believe to be most important. You know the things you do differently. Make a list of your processes that are different from your competitors. Then move on to “why?”

Why you do things differently. It isn’t enough to list out all the things that you do differently and how your processes are unique. You have to explain how your different processes and systems produce better results. How does what you do eliminate the common problems and challenges that cause me to change suppliers in your space? How do these different processes make things better for your clients?

Tell stories. Your values are different. Your processes are different. Your results are different. But the way to roll those up and make them meaningful to your clients is to tell the stories. Tell the stories that helped you define what is important to your organization. Tell the stories about why you changed your processes and how those changes are making a difference for your clients. This gives your differentiation strategy meaning.

If you tell your dream client what makes you different is your people, you’ve likely just reminded them of exactly how alike you are, seeing as how that’s the answer she’s gotten from most of your competitors when she asked them.

Do the work to define what makes you different in a way that allows you to effectively answer this question.

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