Differentiation is the key to winning sales opportunities.
Often times I hear, "I'm creating differentiation. My products can do this and my competitors can't," or "I'm creating differentiation by discounting my price."
Don't confuse "compare to your competition," with "differentiate from your competition." They are not the same thing. The former relates to PRICE and the latter relates to perceived VALUE. Just to be clear, I'm talking about perceived value by your customer and not by you. Your perception of value means nothing. Just because you think your customer should find value in X doesn't mean they actually do. Ask yourself if you have spent enough time on value justification because value justitication and differentiation go hand in hand. Check to see if your customer finds value in X. How important is X to them? What happens if they don't get X? In the end, did you create enough differentiation in the eyes of your customer to earn their business?
A very simple differentiation technique I have used and taught is the Three Levels of Why:
- Why my company? (Company differentiation)
- Why me? (Sales rep differentiation)
- Why now? (Immediate business value differentiation and urgency creation)
Examples of "Why my company?"
- Market share leader
- X number of customers or users
- Excellent reputation backed by customer testimonials
- Global footprint
- Financial strength and stability
- World class customer service backed by online reviews
- Experienced executive leadership team
- Technology patents
- Rapid innovation cycles
Examples of "Why me?"
- Projects a winning and positive attitude
- Industry expert and respected
- Vertical market expert and respected
- Strong online reputation backed by online reviews or testimonials by customers or peers from sites like Linkedin.com or Naymz.com
- Asks thought-provoking questions
- Always returns phone calls and emails promptly and follows through on action items
- Creative problem solver that helps customer solve their business issues
- Provides insightful ideas on how your customer can be successful
- Finds ways to reduce customer risk
Examples of "Why now?"
- Attract new customers
- Retain current customers
- Bigger, better, faster, sooner
- New revenue
- Cost savings
- Efficiency and optimization
- Risk associated with delays
- Missed project timelines
- Timely budget allocation or spend
Master the Three Levels of Why and you will win!