Our products and solutions are being commoditized by the customer whether we like it or not. In Sales, we can and should keep fighting to differentiate ourselves through our solution’s value, but it’s how we approach and interact with our clients that will set us up for the big successes. The way we manage the sales process and how structured and professional we are makes the difference between winning and losing.
I’ve been given direct feedback from my clients telling me they chose me not because my product or solution was that much better than my competition but because of how I managed the sales process. I made it easy for them to buy from me.
Here are some things I do to differentiate myself throughout the process. They may seem fairly basic but you would be amazed how many sales professionals don’t do any or all of these. In order:
- Research the account before I make the call to ensure I always have a relevant reason to reach out to them
- Stay updated on their business and follow any news or events associated with them
- Send a “shared agenda” before every meeting and ask for their feedback
- Prepare specific open-ended questions starting with their industry to put them in the position of the being the expert and get them talking
- Write down my SMART goals before the meeting so I am crystal clear on what I am trying to get accomplished
- Use the agenda to guide the meeting and stay on topic
- Send a follow-up e-mail after the meeting summarizing the key points of what we discussed and asking for confirmation
- Sending thank you cards after the meeting
If you can’t differentiate your product or service then differentiate yourself.
Make it happen!