Worried that your products aren’t adequately differentiated from your competitors’?
I spend a lot of time with people who tell me they worry that their services or products are seen as being the same as their competitors’. They’ve been told that “competitive differentiation” is essential, and they’re often trumping up small aspects of what they do because none of our competitors offer exactly this feature.
Unfortunately, focusing on little things that only you (or your product) can do often doesn’t improve sales results.
Why? Because the only differentiators that help your selling effort are differentiators that matter to your prospects. It’s not just about being different technically – it’s about your prospects’ perception that you’re different in ways that will be useful to them.
And that’s harder and harder to accomplish now! With products and services proliferating, whenever something new is offered, it can seem as if it’s instantly copied – and no one gives you credit for being the first.
New research from Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson writing in their book The Challenger Sale brings hope for those frustrated in their attempt to differentiate what they’re selling. A new study of 6,000 salespeople in 90 companies shows that … the differentiator between you and your competitors can be the sales process itself! Dixon’s and Adamson’s research says that more than half of client loyalty “is a result not of what you sell, but how you sell.”
What can you do in the selling process to improve the quality of your selling effort—to differentiate yourself and what you offer from your competitors? Dixon and Adamson suggest that you offer useful perspectives on the market, help your prospects understand the strengths and weaknesses of alternatives available to them, offer advice … and help your prospects avoid potential problems.
Beyond that, help your prospects to keep up with new issues, new results, ideas and insights. You spend all day thinking about your product or service – share that wisdom with your prospects, and watch your closing success rate climb!