Want to Win Sales? You need to Differentiate

Sure it’s tough out there. There is no doubt about it.  In today’s environment no matter what you are selling there are dozens of competitors calling on your prospects and making similar claims.  So how can you differentiate yourself from the pack? I have some recommendations.

As an executive of a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software firm I understand competition.  There are literally hundreds of CRM vendors from contact management software and sales force automation software providers to vertically based CRM providers all pitching their solution as the best, the easiest and the cheapest.  Some make claims that their product is better than ours, others are offering lower prices and some will do almost anything to win business. Yet despite all of this, our sales team is winning more business based on a few simple tips that may help you.

Lets assume for a moment that you have a new qualified opportunity:

  • The prospect has a need for your company’s product or service,
  • They have a short decision timeframe,
  • There is a budget in place,
  • You are dealing with a decision maker.

Life is good! Now let’s go and win this business:

Tip 1. Preparation: Schedule a pre-approach appointment for the sole purpose of finding out the critical business issues in advance of your next call or appointment. This is the time to learn about their challenges and show them you are committed to understanding their business requirements and helping to address them. Too many sales people make the mistake of asking questions during their presentation or demonstration, which often frustrates the prospect and reduces the effectiveness of the call.

Tip 2. Research: The prospect has told you their needs, but before you make that next call to schedule your presentation or demonstrate your product, do some research about the company to learn about their specific industry and any critical business issues that affect companies just like theirs.  This will help you to develop a flow for how you wish to present or demonstrate your product or service as an effective solution for their business. It’s also important to remember that any intelligent prospect will know if you have really taken the time to understand their business challenges or not.

Tip 3. The Presentation/Demonstration: Focus on their critical business issues right away with specific examples of how your product or service will address them. That’s what the prospect is interested in and if you wait too long, you run the risk of losing their attention and the potential for their business.

Tip 4. Sell Value but Know When to Stop: You probably have a lot of things about your product or service that will provide additional value to your prospect, but if you have successfully addressed their core business requirements then it’s time to stop selling.  Sales representatives all too often frustrate or irritate prospects by over selling. Your product or service does not have to do twenty different things. It just has to solve one or two critical needs.

Tip 5. Know Your Competition: You know the prospect is shopping around and there is nothing you can do about it — or is there?  Very often there will be a bottleneck in a competitive product that your solution addresses very well, but if you are unaware of this you will lose the opportunity to gain a competitive edge. In the famous book The Art of War, written by Sun Tzu, he states, “know they enemy and you shall not fear the outcome of any battle”.

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