Comprehensive and compelling
“Everyone agrees that sales differentiation is a good thing, but no one has ever explained exactly what, why and how to truly become differentiated. Until now. Sales Differentiation is a comprehensive and compelling look at an often-overlooked strategy for sales success.”
— Deb Calvert, author, Stop Selling & Start Leading and DISCOVER Questions®
Deals at the prices
“Lee Salz’s sales differentiation strategies are just what you need to stand out in a crowded market, create more meaningful conversations, and close more deals at the prices you want.”
— Jill Konrath, author of "More Sales Less Time" and "SNAP Selling"
Refer my clients
“Lee Salz is the E. F. Hutton of customer acquisition. When Lee speaks, you should listen. In an over-crowded, over supplied world, Lee’s insights into differentiating yourself by how you sell ring fresh and true. I regularly refer my clients to Lee and wait for the accolades to come streaming in – which they always do. Lee Salz’s methods are practical and they work!”
— Bill Mills, CEO, Executive Group, Inc.
“When I was creating the Rainforest Café, I sought to create a differentiated diner experience. In Sales Differentiation, Lee Salz provides you with the strategies to create a differentiated experience for your clientele. I highly recommend it for anyone in sales.”
— Steven Schussler, creator and founder of Rainforest Cafe, T-REX, Yak & Yeti and The Boathouse all featured at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL
Compel your dream
“If you want to compel your dream clients to change, you have to be different in a way that makes a difference. Lee Salz has written a comprehensive guide to differentiating your offering in a crowded, me-too marketplace. More importantly, this book will help you do the critical work of differentiating yourself!”
— Anthony Iannarino, Author of "Eat Their Lunch: Winning Clients Away from Your Competitors"
“I find many salespeople forget that they have an opportunity to stand-out from the competition in the way they sell so instead they fight to win sales on price. Lee’s book will help ensure that doesn’t happen to you.”
— Brandon Steiner, CEO and founder of Steiner Sports Marketing
Fantastic and strategic
“In a sea of businesses and salespeople competing in the same spaces for the same dollars, being different is the only way to get an edge on your competition. Lee Salz has penned a fantastic and strategic book that gives salespeople the formula to do just that. Simply put, this book is not only incredibly useful, it’s different.”
— Ken Kupchik, author of The Sales Survival Handbook and creator of Sales Humor
Detailing multiple strategies
“Finally, a definitive approach on what it means to differentiate yourself and what you sell. Lee Salz has done a masterful job of detailing multiple strategies you can use now to genuinely set yourself apart in the eyes of your customers. The value in the book is in his examples, which allow you to understand what you need to do to create a sales differential your customers will notice and, more importantly, pay for! This isn’t a book to simply read. It’s a book to read and apply. You won’t regret it!”
— Mark Hunter, CSP, “The Sales Hunter,” author of “High-Profit Prospecting”
Opening doors to winning
“Sales Differentiation shows how salespeople are more important than ever in terms of adding value and differentiating their product or service from the competition. The concepts presented by Lee Salz will help you in every phase of the sales process – from opening doors to winning deals at the prices you want. Make sure you have a pen, paper, and highlighter in hand when you read this book.”
— Paul Nolan, Editor, Sales & Marketing Management magazine
Actionable and easy
“In a sales world with so much noise, Lee’s book stands out just like his teachings. It’s actionable and easy to read, made for any level of sales professional.”
— Max Altschuler, Max Altschuler, CEO Sales Hacker & Author of "Hacking Sales"
“Finally a book that addresses differentiation in a step by step manner that allows salespeople to apply what they learn, immediately. The practical easy to read format and examples to drive the point home are exceptional. Get this book in the hands of every salesperson you know.”
— Alice Heiman, Founder and CSO at Alice Heiman, LLC
Simple and effective
“Sales Differentiation is full of ideas that will immediately help you win more business. For example, Lee’s Sales Crime Theory – do your investigating before you make the sales call – is so simple and effective yet a large majority of sales executives think that doing one’s homework is finding a phone number or at best, visiting a prospect’s website. Lee gives you easy-to-implement ideas that will ensure you are relevant, that give you permission to ask challenging questions, that give you an edge in negotiations, and that separate you from just about every salesperson in every sales call, every time.”
— Sam Richter, World’s Leading Expert on Sales Intelligence and CEO SBR Worldwide / Know More
“In Sales Differentiation, Lee delivers a fine addition to his line of outstanding sales reference tools. It’s straight forward, packed full of real world examples, and presented in a fresh unique way as only Lee can. He not only addresses many common sales myths and barriers but provides examples and detailed processes to help you differentiate your products and services in a way that will catch a buyer’s attention.”
— Larry Reeves, CEO, American Association of Inside Sales Professionals (“AA-ISP”)
Filled with dozens
“Filled with dozens of proven concepts as well as highly-relatable stories, this book shows that salespeople who differentiate themselves not only win more deals, but they also win at higher margins. It is a brilliant and practical how-to guide for salespeople at every level. If you want to escape the high penalty that comes from the buyer’s perception of sameness, this book is your key to success.”
— Gerhard Gschwandtner, CEO, Selling Power magazine
“As I’ve traveled around the world over the past several years working with companies and their salespeople, I’ve been amazed to find that they do not know, and cannot articulate, their competitive advantage! How can a company or salesperson expect prospects and customers to give their time and attention if they do not understand,clearly and concisely, what that company can do for them that no one else can do? So, how can you demonstrate your competitive advantage? Buy Sales Differentiation by Lee Salz, read it page by page, implement its 19 strategies and you will then be able to set yourself apart from your competition and clearly show your customers what your company can do for them that no one else can do.”
— Dr. Tony Alessandra, author of "Collaborative Selling: How to Gain the Competitive Advantage in Sales"
“Sales Differentiation is filled with great examples that are perfect for both beginning salespeople looking to develop their skills and experienced salespeople seeking to take their sales results to the next level!”
— Dawn Deeter, Ph.D., director, Kansas State University National Strategic Selling Institute
“Lee Salz has written a different sales book about how YOU can be a different sales professional to help you sell more. It’s a common trap that a lot of salespeople fall into, all saying the same things, trying the same strategies and selling in the same way. The problem is that doesn’t often work and it’s usually those who do it differently that win. This book is brilliantly written and talks you through how you make WHAT you sell different and the WAY you sell different to win more deals. I’ve read a lot of sales books over the years, but none have given such a great process that I know I’ll be able to use straight away.”
— Daniel Disney, Founder of The Daily Sales and Leading Social Selling Trainer
“A treasure chest of practical, tactical, and doable ways to differentiate yourself from the competition! Read it… Use it!”
— Anthony Parinello, author of "Selling to VITO, The Very Important Top Officer"
“Lee Salz says it’s not just what you sell, but how you sell it. His 19 sales differentiation strategies are a surefire way to drive profitable sales.”
— Harvey Mackay, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller 'Swim with The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive'
“Salespeople know that differentiation is a best practice but have been left to their own devices to figure out how to do it… until now. Sales Differentiation presents strategies that salespeople can quickly put into practice.”
— Verne Harnish, founder Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0)
Implementing the concepts
“I. Love. Everything. About. This. Book. Lee Salz not only powerfully describes why DIFFERENTIATION is so critical, but he shows you exactly how to differentiate yourself, your sales approach, and your messaging. Implementing the concepts in Sales Differentiation will get you more meetings with the right buyers, elevate how they view you and your solution, and help you close more business.”
— Mike Weinberg - author of the "New Sales. Simplified." and "Sales Management. Simplified."
World sales success
“Here’s the path to no longer hear the price objection ever again, as well as rendering your competitors as irrelevant. Lee Salz, in Sales Differentiation, shares his decades of real world sales success so all can now reap the rewards. Don’t read this book – DEVOUR it!”
— Jack Daly, CEO / Entrepreneur / Coach and Best Selling Business Author
Entertaining writing style
“In today’s sales environment where buyers are subjected to more sales ‘noise’ than ever, Sales Differentiation is a must-read (and must-implement) for any salesperson who wants to stand out and excel. With Lee’s engaging, entertaining writing style, peppered with numerous stories and examples, you’ll find yourself reading the book quickly. But, you’ll want to go through it again several times to absorb, highlight, and write down the many valuable how-to’s to use on your own calls.”
— Art Sobczak, Author of “Smart Calling”
Many cars today tell the driver when it is time to perform maintenance. Even better, some tell the driver that maintenance is needed in 1,000 miles with updates along the way. It would be great if as a business executive or small business owner, you had this kind of technology at your fingertips. Unfortunately, managing a sales organization will always be a manual effort. Sure, CRMs and contact managers help, but there is no technology that replaces the leadership associated with sales management. Not sure where to dig into your sales organization? Here are twelve areas that will show just how game ready you are.
1. Business Objective. In your capacity, I’ll bet you can cite the objectives of the business easy as pie, but do the key members of the sales team know them? Better yet, do they know the current one(s)? Business objectives change. It is important that those affected by the change are in the know. The business objectives serve as the foundation of the company’s Sales Architects® which is the overall selling system framework. If the foundation changes without reviewing the selling framework, there is a high risk of not achieving the objective. It is the equivalent of constructing a building with the wrong materials, or worse, in the wrong place.
2. Differentiation. Some argue that differentiation is the job of the marketing team. I see this as a shared responsibility between sales and marketing. The bottom line is whether or not your company is successful winning business at your desired prices. George Carlin has a great line on this. “If you nail together two things that have never been nailed together before, someone will buy it!” The target for differentiation is always moving. What is unique today is passé tomorrow. However, sales people can differentiate themselves above and beyond the product by being a valued resource to their clients. This is critical in a competitive or commodity marketplace. One of my favorite questions to ask sales people is why someone should buy from them. The goal is to see what value they see that they bring to their clientele.
3. Ideal Client Profile. Hopefully, you already have one of these. This is the document that clearly defines the attributes of your ideal client. Think in terms of size, buying circumstance, budget, buying habits, etc. This is a profile which each member of the sales team should memorize and be held accountable for knowing. Their pursuit of new business should be aligned with this profile. As the objectives of the business change, this profile may change. Be sure that it still meets the needs of the business.
4. Message Consistency. You spend time and money investing in a new campaign. Your sales people position the company using this new message, but the print material and website still convey the old information. Not good! The outbound message to the market must be consistent. If the sales people say it, the corporate presentation should reinforce it. The printed collateral material and website should help position the message. In essence, the entire approach should be aligned.
5. Intellectual Capital. What is that, you say? These are your referenceable clients. Other than your employees, they are your most valuable asset. This asset is critical for your sales team to help them win business. How are you growing your portfolio of referenceable clients? How are you ensuring that your largest client is not over-utilized by the sales team for these purposes? Do you have clients who can speak to everything your firm does, coming from multiple buying circumstances (newbie, veteran, etc)? The use of references can serve as a key competitive advantage for your sales team. It is important that the portfolio be ever-growing and well-managed.
6. Sales Performance. How are the members of the team performing relative to their assigned goal? While you may be tempted to measure only revenue performance relative to quota, this is not always the best approach for longer-term buying processes. In those circumstances, review of performance in the buying process itself is an important area for study. That said, the rule of thumb is to look to upgrade the bottom 20% of the sales team. Recruiting is an ongoing initiative of any healthy sales organization.
7. Pipeline Analysis. There are various opinions on how large a sales pipeline should be to ensure it yields enough to meet the business objective. The challenge is that a strict quantitative value minimizes the importance of a qualitative one. I’ve seen sales people with a pipeline of twice their goal finish the year at 150% of quota. I’ve also seen sales people with a pipeline of five times their annual goal miss the target. Quantitative studies aside, the best approach is to conduct formal, periodic pipeline reviews so that you and your executive team can dig into the pipeline to see what prospects are real. Quality supersedes quantity. Pipeline reviews are very helpful for executive teams with respect to learning of market trends and competitive intelligence.
8. Ideal Sales Person Profile. Hopefully, you have one of these too. This tool defines the attributes of the ideal sales person for your firm. You need this if you are going to upgrade the bottom 20% of your sales team. This profile changes, however, as the business changes and matures. Think in terms of the Blackberry®. About seven years ago, their sales people had to create demand in a minimally competitive market. Today, the Blackberry® is a staple in business, but buyers have product choices outside of the Blackberry brand. The skill set required to be successful in their business initially is very different than today. Don’t have a profile? See my article titled “The Sales Marriage” to learn how to formulate your ideal sales person profile.
9. Onboarding Program. Again, you are probably asking yourself what this term means. I could have just written “new hire training.” That doesn’t convey the importance of getting sales people to a productive level as quickly as possible. Every time a sales person is hired in your company, there is a cost to the business. Thus, the development of a program that is focused on reducing the time for a sales person to generate revenue is critical. To effectively formulate your onboarding program, ask yourself what the sales person needs to know to effectively sell your product and when do they need to know this information. Some err by using the firehose approach. “Teach them everything in their first week and tell them to go sell!” The fundamental question is, how quickly is there a return on the investment for this hire?
10. Skill Development. Many think that sales talent is born; not developed. Oh, if that were only the case. Companies need to invest in their sales team development just as professional sports teams practice their craft every single day. Sales is a profession, one of the few professions in which ongoing training is not required to continue to perform in the role. However, it is critical to success. One of the biggest disconnects between executives and sales people is when the sales team is criticized for not “selling the value.” When the executives are asked when and how they trained the sales team on demonstrating this value, a blank look appears on their faces. Sales people will perform based on how they are trained and how they are compensated.
11. Compensation. Does your compensation plan drive the sales behaviors you feel assist in meeting the business objective? It all comes back to the business objective. The blessing and curse of sales people is that they use their compensation plan as a job description. If you pay them for doing one thing, but expect another, you will be disappointed. This is also a very sensitive area. The plan must change as the business objective changes. However, if the plan changes too frequently, the sales team will grow distrustful and look to leave. Approach this with true circumspection.
12. Metrics. The beauty of sales is that just about everything can be measured. Some like sales for that very reason. It is incumbent on the executive team to create metrics with desired goals such that every aspect of the company’s Sales Architects can be measured and analyzed. This is a great way to use your CRM. They are designed to track what needs to be measured. I suggest analyzing performance of team members, product lines, and the sales organization in total. Who sells the most of what product? Who sells the highest margin deals? What product is not selling as expected? Which sales person has the shortest buying cycle? Which sales person has the longest buying cycle?
Review of these twelve areas will ensure that your sales organization is finely tuned and ready to conquer the selling world.