- Product Differentiation You must come up with ways in which your product is different than the competition. Even when the product is identical your product presentation is what will separate the perceived differences in the buyer’s mind. You have to know your product knowledge and combine that knowing with what it is the buyer wants to accomplish.
- Price Differentiation Untrained sales people believe price is the deciding factor but this is not true. Price is a myth when a true sales person builds value and desire and urgency. Thin margins and sales people that believe price is the only solution has put more companies out of business than any other single factor. If your company elects to be the low-price provider, your company better have every expense category cut to the bone, including sales commissions, and better be able to make it up with large volumes, which is highly suspect in this environment, or you will perish in short order! I can give you an almost endless list of companies that have failed using this strategy.
- Relationship Differentiation If there is a solid relationship between you and your clients based on high trust, you have an inside track on the value presentation. In my book Sell to Survive I discuss how to identify and utilize each individual employee’s powerbase. People would rather do business with people they know than people they don’t know. This dependence upon who we know and these relationships have not been correctly farmed over the years and we must get back to it.
- Process Differentiation Companies typically get into a rut about how they handle customers, with management assuming that the processes of yesterday will continue to work today. While the basics never change you have to accommodate a changing market and buyer expectations so your processes do differentiate your company. The Mac Daddy Rule with processes today is make it easy, friendly, fast, different than your competition and lastly make sure your process is consistent with your marketing message.
- Technological Differentiation New modes of communication encompass a wide variety of options, from using podcasts, social networking pages, the use of video online, video emails, blogs, electronic negotiating solutions, CRM’s and combining direct mail with electronic scrub campaigns to target select customers.
- Experiential Differentiation Provide customers with knock-your-socks-off service and experiences so that they tell friends and family. Ask yourself, how can we “WOW” our opportunities based on what they may experience shopping somewhere else? Warning: be sure your process supports the experiential differentiation.
- Marketing Differentiation Gimmicks like no money down, free credit, and lowest price are lazy attempts at marketing and typically fail. Direct your marketing to potential buyers of your products in a manner that hits each of them as individuals and be sure that the process can deliver it. Remember the game is to outsell, not just out market your competitors.
Make yourself different by making the sales staff different, your processes different and the customer experience different. Don’t think in terms of sales training; think in terms of sales effectiveness. Good luck and good selling!