How to be different in ​how you sell, not just what you sell

When I introduce the subject of differentiation to salespeople, they immediately point their fingers at their employers.

“It is their job to create a differentiated product for us to sell,” they’ll say. In their minds, differentiation is entirely the responsibility of the company. Certainly, a company has a responsibility to create a differentiated offering that justifies the pricing they’ve assigned to it. What salespeople often fail to recognize is…


They Have A Tremendous Opportunity To Differentiate Themselves Beyond The Features And Functions Of What They Sell.


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By leveraging Sales Differentiation strategy, they can provide meaningful value in the way in which they sell, not just what they sell.

On July 24, 1996, I had the opportunity to propose to my then-girlfriend Sharon in the White House Rose Garden. I’ll never forget all of the emotions I was feeling leading to that special moment.

In particular, I remember the excitement, thoughts and concerns surrounding the purchase of an engagement ring. Not leaving anything to chance, since Sharon and I had talked about getting married, I included her in the process of buying this ring.

There are a lot of places where you can buy an engagement ring, but what is the right place? I had never purchased a ring like this before, nor have I spent the amount of money I was planning to spend on a piece of jewelry. What questions do I ask? I knew about the basics of color, clarity, etc. when buying a diamond, but I was sure there were other considerations of which I should be mindful. Like most people going through this experience for the first time, I was an uneducated buyer.

We were living in the D.C Metro area at this time, and I came across a jewelry store that is well-known in this part of the country for engagement rings. Were their diamonds better than other stores? I’m guessing they weren’t, but they differentiated themselves in the way in which they sold them, which led us to buy from them.

First, we couldn’t just show up and look at engagement rings. An appointment was required to have a consultation with a salesperson.

When we arrived for our appointment, we didn’t meet in a big showroom with lots of ring choices and other ring buyers. We were taken to a private room that had nothing in it other than comfortable chairs and a fancy desk. Before beginning the conversation about rings, we were offered a glass of wine.

The salesperson proceeded to ask us a series of questions to understand our perspective on engagement rings and the knowledge we had in purchasing diamonds. Only after that conversation with the salesperson did we see ring settings and stones. Based on our responses to her questions, she showed us the ones that would be most of interest and meet our needs.

Most importantly, the salesperson clearly understood how we were feeling at that time. She shared our excitement about this momentous occasion and also appreciated all of the other emotions, concerns, and fears that went along with it.

Could we have purchased a similar engagement ring at a cheaper price? I’m guessing we could have, but the sales experience made us comfortable and confident in our purchasing decision. We knew that this was the right company for us. And, this salesperson was the right salesperson for us.

As you’ve heard me say countless times… How you sell, not just what you sell, differentiates you.

Salespeople often miss out on the opportunity to differentiate themselves based on the way in which they sell. Every phase of the sales process provides opportunities to provide meaningful differentiation with buyers. From the first phone call to a prospect, to an RFP response, to the request for references, you can be different from the competition… and those differences are the reasons why someone buys from you.


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Get your copy of Sales Differentiation. Whether you have been selling for twenty years or are new to sales, the tools you will learn in Sales Differentiation will help you knock-out the competition, build profitable new relationships, and win deals at the prices you want.

When you order today, you’ll gain access to Lee’s “Sales Differentiation Minute” video series (a $1,495 value). For 20 weeks, you will receive an email with a video link in which Lee brings Sales Differentiation strategies to life helping you put them into practice. Learn more here.

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