“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
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
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
“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
“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)
“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"
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”)
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."
“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"
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
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”
“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
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
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"
“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
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.
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"
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®
After a lengthy screening process, the hiring committee feels they have found the right sales candidate for the company. Now comes the tricky part, how do you design an offer and go through the offer stage of the process without damaging the relationship with the candidate? Damaging? Many companies are not prepared to go through the offer step of the process and, due to that, damage the relationship with the candidate. This leads to one of two unfortunate conclusions. Either they lose the candidate or the candidate comes on-board, but with scar tissue. Applying some of the best practices from the sales world into a sales talent screening program helps to avoid that scenario.
The offer stage of the hiring process parallels the proposal phase of sales. Best practices in sales say that you don’t present a proposal until a thorough needs analysis has been completed. If a sales person is presenting a proposal to a prospect, he has acquired the information needed to design a solution, has discussed budget, has a full understanding of their solution requirements, and has set an expectation on pricing. This is certainly the case if the sales person is going to be successful in winning the account.
Looking at this process in contrast to the offer stage of the sales talent screening program, many of the same best practices from sales hold true. During the screening program, information needs to be gathered from the candidate to determine their financial requirements. Unfortunately, many sales talent screening programs focus exclusively on screening the candidate for fit, but do not consider the needs for the offer phase of the process. This leads to a last minute scurry to mine the information from the candidate or they design the offer blindly. Neither of those are best practices for the offer stage.
In sales, it is said that if you are going to lose, lose early. This prevents you from making a huge investment in a relationship that will not generate revenue. The parallel to screening sales talent is understanding the financial requirements of the candidate early enough to stop the process before over-investing in the relationship. There is no point in continuing a process with a candidate that requires a compensation level 25% above what you can offer. This probably seems logical, but hiring executives rarely focus on this as a de-selection element early in the process.
Just like discussing pricing with a prospect, the financial needs discussion requires finesse. The candidate knows that you are asking questions about their financials, just like a prospect knows a sales person is fishing for budget information. The better-skilled sales people tell their prospects, “I don’t want to waste your time by getting you excited about a solution that will not fit in your budget constraints…” In much the same way, this discussion can be had with the candidate, “I don’t want to excite you about an opportunity that might not be a match for your financial needs. As you look at making a change in position, what thoughts have you given to your compensation requirements?” With continued finesse, you can dig further into the mix of salary versus commission. Some candidates may rebuff this discussion as they feel the information will be used against them. In some instances, they are justified for having that concern. Hopefully, that is not the case in your company. We’ll come back to this point later. The bottom line is that the two goals of this phase are to gather information that allow you to formulate an offer and to de-select those candidates whose requirements exceed your financial package.
In sales, the proposal phase should not be like a magic show. The prospect should not be shocked by what is included in the proposal. In essence, the proposal is the documentation of what has already been discussed. No surprises. The same holds true for candidates. The time to review the compensation plan details is not after they are hired, or even at the offer stage. The compensation plan should be reviewed at the point where you have a genuine interest in pursuing the candidate and they have a complete enough understanding of the company that they will be able to comprehend the compensation plan.
One of the core requirements associated with any process is that it is measurable. The offer phase of the sales talent screening program should be measured statistically to determine effectiveness. The key statistic is number of offers made versus ones that are accepted. If the acceptance level is less than 80%, the process should be reviewed by asking the following questions.
- At what point of the process are the candidate’s financial requirements reviewed?
- When it is known that the candidate’s financial requirements exceed the package, is the candidate removed from the process?
- At what step is the compensation plan reviewed with the candidate?
- In what level of detail is the compensation plan reviewed with the candidate?
- How often is the initial offer to the candidate rejected, and subsequently, negotiated successfully?
The last bullet in the list above ties back to my opening position about damaging the relationship. Again, this ties back to lessons that can be learned from sales. Many years ago, a procurement training specialist shared a pearl about the counsel he gives to sales people who ask about pricing strategy. He said, “Provide us with the best pricing that you feel comfortable providing and either way you are happy.” This always puzzled sales people so he explained further. “If you provide your best pricing and are selected, you are happy because you won the account. If you are not selected because we found lower pricing elsewhere, you are happy because you would not have been happy at that price point. Again, either way you are happy.”
Consider this when making an offer to the sales candidate. Develop an offer based on what was learned from the candidate that represents the best offer you are willing to make. Early in the process, tell the candidate that you don’t negotiate offers, but rather put your best offer on the table upfront. It demonstrates a professional message to the candidate and reduces their fear of attempts to lowball them. When companies negotiate offers, while they may “win” the candidate, they damage the relationship. This person is on-boarded with the worst scar tissue of all, a lack of trust. The sales person will always be on the look out for the company to try to cheat them.
As with any component of the sales talent screening process, preparation is the key to success. Organize your team and design a process that achieves your desired results. This will allow you to create longlasting, fruitful sales marriages.