“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"
“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
“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
“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
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®
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"
“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”)
“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"
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
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
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.
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
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”
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."
“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
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
“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)
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"
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”
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
“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'
“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
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"
There are few more critical decisions that business leaders make than how they compensate their sales organization. Unfortunately, many look at this issue from a single vantage point. How much do we want our sellers to earn if they hit quota? While that is an important and relevant question, it should not be the only driver of sales compensation. Unlike any other position in the company, the sales person has two job descriptions, the one called a job description and the compensation plan. While HR may have the job description on file, the one that affects the sales person’s activities is the compensation plan.
There are multiple considerations for business leaders to review when developing sales compensation plans because the plan doubles as a job description. Since it directs sales behaviors, you need to look at how it impacts the service the client experiences. It also impacts the overall results for the company. Thus, there are three entities to consider when formulating the sales compensation plan: the sales people, the clients, and the company (employer).
The equilateral triangle serves as the perfect model when designing sales compensation as it ensures none of those three entities is over/under recognized by the plan. Each side of the triangle represents an entity affected by the sales compensation plan. If any of the sides of the triangle are out of proportion from the others, the result is the law of unintended consequences. Things happen that are not intended, but are consistent with the message communicated by the plan. Here are some examples of compensation plans gone awry.
Case Study: Health Club. A large health club chain offered a program that provided employees of certain companies discounts on memberships. The way the program was structured was that the health club sales person would generate a lead for the corporate sales person. The corporate sales person would call the company and offer the employees a 20% discount on memberships if they would post a flyer for 30 days to communicate the offer to the employees.
Coming back to the equilateral triangle model for sales compensation, this program was a colossal failure. The company paid full commissions to both the health club sales person and the corporate sales person on a 20% discounted membership. Needless to say, the sales people were happy and invested countless hours pushing this program instead of the other programs offered by the company.
The other two entities were much less satisfied with this offer. The company, because the membership was heavily discounted and were paying double commissions (not only to the sales people, but their leaders), came to realize that they had a near non existent margin on every sale made. They also found that their corporate sales team dedicated all of their selling time to this program instead of other programs that were of higher margin to the company, but paid lower commission rates.
When looking at the third side of the equilateral triangle, the clients saw no value on the program. The companies simply stuck a flyer on a bulletin board and saw no tangible benefits. Further, when those employees who joined the health club through this program were interviewed, most said that they were planning to join any way at list price.
Thus, the program failed two of the sides of the sales compensation equilateral triangle model.
Case Study: Human Resources Outsourcing (HRO) Service Provider: A firm offering outsourced services to Human Resources Departments of large companies structured their compensation plan to pay commissions to their sellers at the highest percentage for the first 18-months following the commencement of the contract. After that period, the commission rate dropped to a fraction of a percentage. While at the surface the plan does not look perilous, there were some underlying components that caused issues.
The 18-month clock never restarted with a company. This means that if a sales person added other locations or regions, they only received the commission rate commensurate with the moment in time of the client lifecycle. If the sales person added a new client location in month 19, the commission they were paid wasn’t enough to buy a cup of coffee at Starbuck’s. If the client purchased additional services, the same compensation issue occurred.
The plan told the sales person to sell whatever you could in the first contract and not to bother with upselling/cross-selling as the compensation level did not justify the work. The clients suffered as a result of this program as well. Since the commission rate for the sales person dropped after month 18, they noticed that the attentiveness of their sales person dropped too. The plan unintentionally directed that to happen, yet attentiveness of the sales person is critical as the nature of these buying relationships is such that there are hourly transactions. They need their sales person to remain engaged.
The HRO provider wasn’t happy either. They came to realize that their sales people were not focused on conquering accounts. The sales person would sell once and move on to some other opportunity. The sales people were not focused on adding locations or on selling new products/services to the account. They also found they would lose many of their clients in year 2 and 3 as the attentiveness of the sales person had dropped.
Unlike in the health club example where the sales people were happy with the plan, but the clients and company were not, no one was happy with this plan. After two painful years, the plan was scrapped in favor of one that met the criteria of the equilateral triangle model.
Thus as you develop your compensation plan, ask yourself the following questions to ensure you are following the equilateral triangle model.
- What message does the plan convey to the sales person about where to focus their selling time?
- How does the plan impact the client experience?
- If the sales person follows the plan exactly as it is written, how is the company impacted?
Remember, the compensation plan you put in the hands of the sales organization are their marching orders. The equilateral triangle model helps to ensure every action taken by your sales team is intended and aligned with your business objectives.
Learn more in my FREE eBook – Sales Compensation Best Practices.