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”
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®
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
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"
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"
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
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
“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
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
“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
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"
“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'
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."
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
“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"
“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
“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”)
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”
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
“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)
There are few decisions more critical for a company than the hiring of the leadership of their sales organization. Yet, few know how to do it well. Many err and “promote” their best seller to a sales management position. Why this is called a promotion is beyond me. The job of the sales manager is vastly different than that of a sales person, so why is this considered employment elevation? Often times, sales managers earn less than the top sales people. Promotion?
Some sales people make the transition successfully, but many struggle with the change. Sometimes, it is a mismatch of the person to the role. However, more frequently, the struggle is caused by the lack of recognition by the company that this is not a promotion, but rather a move into a completely new job. How do you handle an employee in a new job? You train, mentor, and monitor their performance! Look, most people don’t come out of the womb with the skills required to be an effective manager. Thus, it is a key responsibility of the company to recognize that when moving their top sales person into that role they need to own the development of that individual. A congratulatory handshake and smile just won’t get it done.
Many companies look for their sales management candidates from outside their organization. This approach also has its challenges. Whether you promote from within or hire from outside, consider these five points to make sure you find the right person for the role.
Selling versus Managing. If you consider the broad spectrum of responsibilities from selling business directly to managing a team, what percentage of the time do you expect this person to be focused on personal selling versus managing? As mentioned above, the skill set required for those two responsibilities is vastly different. It is also difficult to find professionals that have equal strength in both skill sets. Often times, there will be a trade-off. If there is a sacrifice to be made, it makes the best sense to select someone who has their primary strength in the more predominant part of the responsibility.
If the decision is made that the position has equal responsibility for selling and managing or the dominant responsibility is selling, it may make sense for an internal hire. This allows the company to develop a new manager. However, the plan falls down if the company is not committed to a development plan.
Creating versus Executing. Another consideration is what your expectations of the sales manager are relative to developing the company’s Sales Architects® (the framework of the sales organization). In some companies, there is a plan already in place and the job of the sales manager is to ensure the plan is executed as written. In essence, the job is to motivate the troops and coach them to make sure revenue targets are achieved. This is usually the case for mid-level sales managers.
In other situations, the primary job is to establish the overall direction of the sales organization, formulate the compensation plan that supports that direction, and execute the plan. Needless to say, this is a very different profile than the sales manager described above.
Title versus Responsibility. Check any job board and you will find a plethora of titles referring to sales management. However, there is not a direct correlation between title and responsibilities. This can create a disconnect with the new manager and with clients if those two are not synchronized. If you are going to give someone the title of “Vice President,” there is an inherent expectation that this is a high-responsibility, high-authority position. When clients hear that title, they believe that this person is a senior-level person in the company and can make decisions. Thus, this can create client frustration if the responsibility and authority are not consistent with the title.
At the other end of the spectrum, calling this person a “sales manager” creates a more junior-level perception. There is nothing wrong with the term, but it is important that you recognize the created perception. Again, this can cause issues with both the person in the role and clients if the responsibilities don’t match the title. Some very good sales management candidates will elect not to apply to your company because they believe it is a junior-level role.
Interviewing. Probably the toughest role for which to interview is the sales manager. For one, they are experienced in interviewing. They know the desired answers. They know the sales lingo and buzz words. How do you get past the fluff and get your real answers? One way is to develop a list of benchmark questions that candidates are asked. This allows for comparison of answers among the candidate pool. (Send me an email and I will send you my favorite 20 questions.) It is important that the questions not follow a sequence so that the candidate cannot build off their prior answers. Be sure to document the responses to each so you can review them later. You will be amazed by what comes out of this step of the process.
Another important consideration when interviewing these candidates is with whom they will need to have a healthy business relationship to be successful in their role. For example, there is an inherent strife between sales and operations. However, the company will fail if the leaders of those two areas are not able to work together in a productive manner. Consider the various department leaders with whom this person will interact and engage them in the process. This also helps the new manager assimilate into the organization once they are onboard.
The Ultimate Screening Tool. The most effective tool that I have found in screening sales management candidates is the request for the submission of a written business plan. When the candidate has satisfactorily completed all of the other steps of the pre-offer process, the request is made for a one-page business plan that shows how they would approach the job. I mention the one-page scope three times in the conversation so my expectations are clear. The candidate is asked by when they can submit the document. It is important that the submission date be asked of the candidate, not the other way around as you will see in a moment.
The benefits of this step are numerous. For one, it shows if the candidate can communicate in written form. Writing is a lost art in business, but a critical one for someone in a leadership role.
Another benefit is that it shows if the candidate understands what the role entails. A number of hours have been spent with the candidate by this point. If they are near the finish line, they should have a clear vision of the expectations.
Another is to see if there is a synergy in the approach to the role. It is best to see before the marriage is performed if their approach is aligned with the leadership’s vision.
Still another is the ability to see if this person can meet a self-imposed deadline. I asked when he could have the plan to me. He provided me with a date and time. If it is late, the candidate is no longer considered for employment. End of story.
Finally, in this role, I am the client. I’ve asked for a one-page plan, not an epic. Do they follow directions? Or do they ignore what the client desires and do whatever they want. While I don’t eliminate candidates solely for this, I refer to this in a follow-up session with the candidate.
One final point that is critical when hiring is to background screen. Resume fraud is at an all-time high! Candidates lie about employment history, salary history, and their education experience, not to mention criminal history. Find a reputable firm to do this work for you.
Finding the right person for your sales management role is difficult. It is also expensive. These five keys will help mitigate the risk and create a happy, healthy sales marriage between you and your new employee.
Get my Top 100 Sales Leader Interview Questions to help you make the right decision.