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"
“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
“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)
“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”)
“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
“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'
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"
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®
“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"
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
“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
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”
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.
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"
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."
“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
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
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"
In my sales management career, I would bet that I’ve seen about 5,000 resumes for sales people. Yet, I still haven’t seen one that shows someone who has achieved 40% of quota. Every single resume shows 100%, 200%, 2,000,000% of goal. Where are all of the people who have had less than stellar sales performances? Did they all leave the sales profession? If all of the resumes that I saw truly represented the performance of the individual, the U.S. economy would be thriving to say the least. Every company would be enjoying record revenue performances.
If you have read my past articles, you’ve felt my passion for creating sales marriages, those relationships whereby a mutually beneficial relationship is formulated between a sales professional and a company based on synergistic matches of needs. This is not easy to do as, right off the bat, the relationship begins with a flawed tool, a resume. It is this tool that dupes, tricks, and stretches the truth of a person’s pedigree. Yet, as an employer, that is what you have to work with when hiring a sales professional so you need to find a way to mine through the information in a quest for the complete truth.
I spend a tremendous amount of time preaching about the importance of honesty and integrity in sales. Those are two words that are not often associated with the profession. As such, I believe that the quest to find sales people who represent a company’s brand well starts with a thorough resume review. Plain and simple, dishonesty in a sales person’s resume means they don’t play on my team. There are more than enough statistics to support the issue of what I call “resume inflation.”
I can recall a time when I ran a sales organization in the employment screening industry, a company that provided pre-employment background screening for other companies. We made an offer to a sales candidate who had impressed everyone he met including the CEO. When we ran his background check, our core business, we found that his claim to have worked for a company for two and a half years was actually two and a half months. The funny part is when we asked him about the discrepancy, he lied again and said his former employer made a mistake. Fifteen minutes later, he called back (I think he remembered that background screening was our core business) and fessed up. Needless to say, we couldn’t have this person selling our background screening services.
Think about this, if someone would apply for a sales job at a company whose core business was employment background screening and lie about their background, what candidates do you think you are seeing? Every day, new technologies are introduced to the marketplace to make the screening process better and easier for hiring managers. Yet, none of these technology companies advocate using their technology as a replacement for a strong screening process. Assessments, for example, serve as a tool for the process, but do not replace the process itself. Thus, it all begins with a strong resume review.
The resume review should not occur for the first time with the candidate sitting in front of you. An effective interview requires preparation. As such, the resume should be studied and areas of question identified so that questions can be asked of the candidate during the interview. What areas should be perused? Here are five areas of a sales resume that require detailed attention.
Accomplishments. In sales, there is an old expression that says if you can’t prove it, don’t say it. This usually refers to the dialogue between a sales person and a prospect, but it is also applicable for a resume. As a hiring manager, you are well within your rights to ask candidates for documentation of the accomplishments they list on their resume. If they don’t have documentation, perhaps a request for a reference for that accomplishment is appropriate. Checking every single accomplishment is over the top, but checking one or two accomplishments makes sense. I suggest those that seem the most impressive to you about the candidate be verified. If someone told me that they personally doubled the size of the company in one year, I would want to see proof of that!
Title. Sales people have more titles than there are prospects in the world. I can’t keep track of all of them any more. However, those titles don’t necessarily correspond to responsibility. A small company may call their only sales person a Vice President while a large company may call a person performing the exact same role a sales representative. While reviewing the resume, don’t limit your perusal to the title. Dig a bit into the responsibilities that the individual had. During the interview process, it is critical that you ask questions to understand the role and responsibility that goes with the title.
Where some companies get in trouble is they look to hire a senior sales person and don’t consider candidates with higher level (Vice President, for example) titles. It is important to analyze the responsibilities that the individual had in their capacity to see if this individual matches your needs regardless of what you call this role. If the resume is unclear about this, ask the candidate for details.
Employment Dates. If a sales person has a gap, or gaps, in their employment meaning they did not leave one job and go directly to another one, they will show years of employment, but not months. This creates the illusion of continuous employment. If you background screen as part of your hiring process and employment verification is part of that scope, this will be identified at that time. However, that takes time and dollars. But, why wait until the end of the process to learn something you can know now? When you see years on a resume, ask the candidate to provide months of employment too. Ask questions to understand the gaps. You may still elect to hire the person, based on the explanation. At least, you get the complete picture.
Training Programs. Many sales people list the training programs that they have completed on their resume, but who verifies that? Guess what, no one does! When hiring IT professionals, it is common to check training and certification completion. Not so, with sales people. So, what risk does a sales person have by stating that they have completed the “Miller-Heiman Strategic Selling” course on their resume? None! A suggestion is to ask for a copy of their completion certificate. If they have truly taken the course, you will see a confident reaction. If they have only read the book, or perhaps, not even that, you will see them squirm in their seat.
College Degree. When I look at the education section of a resume, I expect to see college name, degree completed, and graduation date. However, I regularly see that degree or graduation date, or both are omitted. Red flag! Sure, a background check will expose that too, but why wait until post-offer to find out? When you see missing information on the resume, ask the candidate point-blank, if they graduated college, what year, and with what major? Some omit their graduation year to hide their age, but others do it to create the illusion of degree completion. Unfortunately, you will find many sales people who list a college and year, and hope you won’t ask any other questions.
I don’t believe that most sales people intend to dupe their potential employer, but I’ve also been around the block long enough to know that the percentage that “inflate” is high enough to warrant a circumspect analysis of the resume.
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