The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode · 6 months ago

Differentiate How You Sell

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Sales is a game of inches. How you make your approach stand out from the competition (including do-nothing or do-it-internally options) can set you far ahead, or behind. 

There is as much differentiation in how you sell as there is in what you sell. But how exactly do you differentiate your approach? Tune in to hear five key steps you can take to make yourself stand out from the competition and bring value to your buyers. 

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Don't just work your way through a script. Approach your conversations with empathy and understanding, and the orders will come. You are listening to the audible ready podcast, the show that helps you and your team's sell more faster. Will feat your sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create a sales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team at force management, a leader in BB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello, I'm Rachel Clud Miller. Thank you for listening to the audibilready sales podcast. We often talk about how there is as much differentiation in how you sell as there is in what you sell, and today we're going to talk about what that actually means and key steps you can take to differentiate the way you sell. John Kaplan, this is something elite sellers really strive to do. Yeah, I love the little moniker you put there. The how you sell can oftentimes...

...be just as important as what you sell, and I'm anxious to discuss that today. Yeah, I think probably I should say that every one of our podcast episodes will help you differentiate how you sell, but rest will wrap it up here in this episode, because we say often that you know, sales is a game of inches and those things you can do to differentiate yourself in the way you sell is part of that game of inches. So let's dive in with some ways to differentiate yourself. The first one we came up with really has to do with those initial calls in your discovery, approaching those conversations with empathy and understanding. What I like about this concept is is that we're all sales professionals and professionals who are committed to understanding customer needs and delivering highly differentiated solutions to solve those needs. Many times we ask ourselves, so why is it the customers don't always see us that way and and often when our...

...customers are surveyed about sellers, they believe that we're out of touch. They asked buyers, what are your two biggest challenges and about the people that sell to you, and the surface come back for decades, you know, those answers have come back the exact same way. The number one responses they don't understand my business, my pain, my problems and challenges, and the number two responses, they don't listen very well. And so we've coined the term the seller deficit disorder. And the best way to differentiate how you sell is to be confident in what you do for a living and put yourself in the shoes of the buyer. Don't just show up begging for orders or nagging your customers. Your job is to understand your customers by listening to them and and don't just work your way through a script. Approach your conversations with empathy and understanding and the orders will come right. So your discovery isn't just some question...

...talk track. This is what having about empathy. Were talking about understanding. It's really guided by the customer, who is sharing key pain points and you have to have empathy for that pain the person's going through. I'm steering that conversation into the pain points that I know I can solve. And that brings us to the next point. How you differentiate from competitors? Yeah, I mean you know, you know why you're different than the competition, but the key way to stand out as a seller is to get your customer to care about that differentiation. They need to see the value in that differentiation. You just can't state that something is different and and it becomes a differentiator. Let me give you quick example, years ago, while I was working for PTC, one of my competitors, in a last ditch effort to save the account, got the engineers focused on our graphical user interface. And in the fact...

...of the matter was is that our interface was blue and the competitors was green. And and so they got them totally focused on this and nothing else. And when I finally sat down with the economic buyer, the economic buyer shared with me that, you know, he thought that we had a problem and he explained to me, you know, your graphical unit user interface is blue and it's not green. And and thank God I was just like really focused on the power of the value of differentiation in that moment and I just asked the question, can you tell me what challenges that creates for you, what a blue screen versus a green screen creates? And he said no, I can't. And and and then I that I talked about our differentiation. That was already solidified into their required capabilities. Then was something called Bidirectional Associativity, which meant a change made anywhere in the process was reflected, e. everywhere,...

...and that was the number one criteria for them. So so what I then did was that I asked them to stack rank the require capabilities and and you can imagine that green screen wound up on the bottom. So you have to remember your differentiation has to add value to the customer. So saying I'm better than the competitor is great and it's great that you leave it, but what differentiates me is a seller is when I can get my customer to care about that differentiation and make it part of the required capabilities and it focuses on how it relates to outcome. That's what's critical right that that differentiation and how it relates to the outcomes and that move you talked about with the blue screen versus the green screen. It wasn't going to really impact their outcomes and you are listening to that rather than saying what do you care about the color for? But really positioning it in way in terms of their outcomes was how you...

...got the customer to care about it exactly. And I'm so glad you said it that way because when I first heard it, I'm glad that my brain, my mouth, didn't say what my brain was thinking. I actually kind of had in my mind like a big fat so what, and luckily I turn that into so what does that mean to you, Mr Mrs Customer, instead of just like so what? Blue screen versus screen screen? So there were some additional learning there. Yeah, that's a good, good thing for those of you listening out there to remember when your head says so what, when the customer makes some crazy comment, add on. So what does that mean for you? Absolutely what it's so what does it mean for you? Absolutely great things to remember there. The next one I wanted to bring up is to share continued value in the sales process. I know it force manage what we have some sales people who really execute this one very well. Yeah, I think you know you have to make sure you're not only reaching out to customers, clients prospects when you need something. You know, you have...

...to have good reasons to engage. You know, maybe your marketing team put together a piece of thought leadership and you know that gives you a reason to reach out, or you have a new Webinar to tell them about. You know, make sure there's a reason and look for ways to continually add value, like conversations with other customers that you've had who have maybe solved similar challenges that they're having. Research in their industry, a note of congratulations. You know, get creative and add value and continue to be interesting. Don't Nag people, add value. Yeah. Then the next one is a key component of our command of the message methodologies. We kind of touched it touched on earlier. Keep focused on the positive business outcomes and measurable results you're trying to drive for them with your solution. That should be the focus of every sales interaction. Yeah, I mean you keep them focused on the measurable outcomes that...

...they're looking to achieve and the required capabilities that will get them there. Your customers are often for wrestled them. They're too close to the pain to really understand how to solve it. You have the benefit of helping others solve the same issues and, you know, keep them focused on the greater story. They'll be able to better articulate the benefits of your solution and they'll look like a hero in their own organization when they do fix the challenges, and you'll earn trusted advisor status because you help them get there. Yes, amen, okay, John. Finally, our final point. Stay connected. Yeah, this goes back to the earlier point that we were discussing on the you know, stay connected. Don't just reach out when you need something. Keep the lines of communication open after the deal. You never know where that person will end up, and I like to always think about communication as a process and not an event. For example, you know, when I'm communicating with an...

...economic buyer, I think about three phases of communication. I think about kind of like prior to the engagement, where I'm really really focused on discovery, I think about during an engagement, when I'm probably more focused on validating that our solution is a match for the problems and challenges that have been articulated, and then I'm thinking about post engagement, when I'm really kind, kind of focused on proof points, what I call like sharing the good news and giving other people the credit. So I like to think about communication as a process, not an event, kind of a before, during an after mentality, and I've really, really had great success on leverage with that. Yeah, you don't want to underestimate that after because you never know in that person where that person is going to end up. So let me wrap this up for everyone out there listening. Are Five ways to differentiate how you sell. Number...

One, empathy and understanding and discovery. Differentiate in a way that has meaning to you, the buyer. Continue to share value on the sales process. Keep them focused. Keep your buyers focused on measurable outcomes. And the final one. I'm summing up what you said, John, by, say, saying stage heathered. So there's five things for you all to write on your post it notes on your mirrors today, but love to wrap it up with a bottom line, John. Yeah, that's a great list, Rachel. You know, the bottom line for me is is we have to remember that how we sell can be just as important as what we sell. And all of these ideas today are what elite sellers do. So elite sellers wake up every morning and say to themselves, what are my differentiators and why are they relevant to my customers, and how am I going to get them influenced in to the decision criteria? This is a professional approach to selling, not a series of nagging outreaches, you know, stating things like, and I get these all the time. Hey, John, you must be busy because you...

...have not responded to the seventh femail that I sent to you in the last two weeks. If you're if you're experiencing that type of communication with your prospects, you know. There's your sign. You have to believe that what you do matters. If you don't, who will? Mike Drop, mic drop? Thank you, John, for this conversation. You're welcome, Rache'll have a great week, all right. Thank you, and thank you to all of you for listening to the audible ready sales podcast. At force management, we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologies deliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teams the ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strength is our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's get started. Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You've been listening to the audible ready podcast. To not...

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