In your customer’s eyes, it’s easy for you to blend in with all the other reps out there. Every industry has its “pattern.” From the typical business casual uniforms to the cookie-cutter pitches, everyone starts to sound the same, look the same, and feel the same after a while. The whole thesis of this newsletter – and my approach to selling – is that we are premium salespeople who sell premium products and services, who deserve to sell them at premium prices. Anything less is cheating yourself, your customers, and your company.
However – if you blend in with your competitors, you probably aren’t going to get a premium price. You might not even get the sale. As a salesperson, distinguishing yourself is critical for getting more prospects to pay attention, keeping them engaged, upselling successfully, and ultimately charging higher prices because you offer greater value. Here are four straightforward ways any rep can differentiate themselves:
1. Dress How You Want Customers to Perceive You
Most sales reps dress very similarly – company polos, logo jackets, khakis. But consider the type of client you’re trying to attract, then dress at least a notch above that to project confidence and capability. Let’s face it – if the only difference between you and your competitors is the color of your polo shirt and the logo on it, you blend in. Don’t blend. Your customers aren’t going to cringe in fear when you dress a little nicer than what’s expected, or even better than them. But you will stand out – and standing out is a huge part of our battle today.
2. Ask Better Questions
Many sales interactions follow a familiar back-and-forth with a features-heavy pitch (aka the “brochure barf”) and some small talk before closing out quick. Maybe some leading questions get tossed in there, but there’s seldom a real attempt at meaningful discovery. Try leading instead with great open-ended questions about the prospect’s true needs (for their business AND for your “stuff”), problems they face, goals they have. This shows that you genuinely care and that you’re trying to help THEM put a win on the board, not just put one on for yourself. In a sea of brochure barfers, be a questioner. It builds trust and lets you direct a conversation that helps the Buyer move through his or her Buyer’s Journey.
3. Prove It.
Anyone can talk, talk, talk. Your customer probably doesn’t believe most of what you say. It’s not you, personally – they have just been conditioned. The best marketing is that which allows your prospective customer to view you through the eyes of a current, happy customer. To differentiate yourself, put together compelling proof your product delivers with customer reviews, testimonials, case studies, demos, guides, ROI calculators. Anything that shows you’re focused on their bottom line. This builds confidence in working with you.
When your customers are buying from you, they are also buying you. So put yourself into the game as much as possible. Mentally engage. Show prospects instead that you can actively listen, answer questions on the fly, and pivot your examples based on their feedback. Bring some passion and urgency too. This flexibility and conviction leaves a memorable impression and builds credibility.
Taking these four steps – raising your professional polish, leading with great questions, backing claims with social proof, and exhibiting some personality – helps you stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons. This grabs attention, builds rapport quicker, and makes competitors seem generic. That’s good – we want THEM to seem generic, not to join them. That’s how we generate premium prices. If you’re different in a meaningful and positive way, you can charge higher prices over the long haul. What’s more, your customers will be happy to pay those prices. That’s a win, isn’t it?