Patrick Malone, Senior Partner of The PAR Group states, “Customers are more apt to believe what they ‘see’ rather than what they ‘hear’. So the key to being different is to actually ‘be’ different.” That’s rather the equivalent of:
- “walk the talk”
- “actions speak louder than words”
- “I’ll believe it when I see it”
- “put your money where your mouth is”
Since there are so many adages stating that doing is better than saying, I’d say we should be focused on what our customers see and experience. Do you know how you are different from the competition? If so, can you clearly state that differentiation, and what your clients and prospects will gain if they choose to work with you? Can you put those differentiating factors into action to prove that your actions match up to your words?
Yes, it is all about them. It’s about what your clients and prospects will gain if they do business with you and your organization. If you don’t bring anything different to the table than your competitors, then why would anyone want to work with you – unless you were the lowest cost provider in town? If there is no differentiation, then you are a commodity. Commodities are purchased based upon lowest price.
Williams Sonoma and WalMart both sell cookware. However, Williams Sonoma can command a higher price than WalMart. Have you ever stopped to think why? I believe it’s because of several things:
- Higher quality cookware.
- Better shopping experience.
- Their stores are more visually appealing.
- The staff is knowledgeable and helpful.
- They carry unique cookware, not easily found in a WalMart.
You may have other attributes that you can attach to Williams Sonoma. But, one attribute you won’t attach is “lowest price”. WalMart has that category locked up. Williams Sonoma is easily able to differentiate themselves, and because of that bring a value that people are willing to pay more for.
What are your differentiating factors – the ones that people are willing to pay more for? If you’re just another price to your clients and prospects, then the message they are sending is that you are no better – no different – than anyone else. They are saying that you and your organization add no value to the equation.
As a sales rep, you have the ability to double-differentiate (I’m laying claim to making up that word). You can differentiate your organization and you can differentiate yourself. Some of you may be thinking that a sales rep is a sales rep, but that’s not true. There are some really great sales people – whether in a retail establishment or out on the streets knocking on doors. What do these great sales people look like?
- They truly care about solving their clients/prospects problems.
- They are interested in the people, organizations and industries that they serve.
- They understand the difference between a one-off sale and a strategic, long-term, value added relationship – and are willing to work to develop the relationship.
- They listen.
- They follow-up promptly.
- They are a resource.
- They ask for feedback so they can continuously improve their products and services.
- They are proactive.
I’m sure you can think of additional attributes that would help an organization and a sales rep set themselves apart so they can easily state their value to those they serve. I think all of us could benefit from pondering on our differentiating factors and then putting them into play. We don’t just want to say our service is extraordinary – we want our clients to experience that extraordinary level of service. The public can easily see through a slogan or tagline and if what you promised doesn’t happen, you can bet they will be looking for someone else to meet their wants and needs. www.multi-craft.com