“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
“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®
“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”)
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.
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
“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"
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"
“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)
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
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
“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
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"
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”
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”
“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
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
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"
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"
“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
“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'
You have been chasing this account for six months and feeling optimistic as the buying process is coming to a conclusion. The sale is between you and two other firms. The competition is fierce, but you feel you are ahead. At 11am, the Procurement Agent asks for three references to be provided to her by the end of the day. In a panic, you send a company-wide email in search of these referenceable clients. At 4:58pm, you get the three references from your colleagues and quickly send them out to the Procurement Agent. Whew! Mission accomplished! They wanted three references and you got it done. And so did everyone else. You see the finish line, forgetting that many a sales person has fallen one step short of winning.
This scenario plays out in companies every day across the country. It doesn’t matter if the company is big or small, nor does it matter the type of industry. The request for references is a standard part of any buying process. However, few sales people use the reference stage of the process to their strategic advantage. They simply desire to provide a quick response to the prospect with their requested references. In the mind of the sales person, the speed of the response communicates supplier performance. While somewhat true, the discussions the prospect will have with the references carries more weight in the selection decision than the speed of the response from the potential supplier.
When I talk to sales people, one of their most common gripes is that they are selling a product that is viewed as a commodity in the marketplace. They cite “price” as their biggest bugaboo. Right behind that they lament about their inability to differentiate their product. (The truth is that price and differentiation are directly related, but that is a topic for another article.) When I ask sales people if they would like to learn of an easy way to get a competitive edge, they are all ears. After I share with them that they have the ability to differentiate themselves through managing the reference selection process, they look at me in shock as they can’t believe they have been missing this opportunity. Then the stories start to come out. “Yeah, I lost a deal because they called the reference and we had just screwed up their order. I should have checked before I used them” The stories just continue from there.
But why do prospects ask for references? Webster’s defines “reference” as someone who can make a statement about a person’s qualifications, character, and dependability. Interestingly, there is a perception disconnect on references between sales people and prospects. When I talk to sales people, I usually hear that references are just a standard part of due diligence. Some use the term “rubber stamp” of an award. However, when I talk to buyers, I hear a very different message. Many buyers look at the reference step of the buying process as their opportunity to validate the message that they have been hearing from the potential supplier. In essence, prospects are searching to ascertain whether a supplier can deliver on the promises made during the buying process. Can the supplier really handle this size account? Are they really that fast? Or that accurate? Is the service as good as they described?
In many cases, the change of provider carries with it the ownership of the supplier’s performance. If the new supplier does not perform to the expectations that have been represented, there is risk for those who selected it. Heads will roll! Sometimes, prospects ask the same questions of the reference that they asked of the sales person to see if there is a difference in response. Other times, they ask specific questions relative to their needs that may not have been shared with the sales person. For the prospect, this is their most critical evaluation step of a supplier’s expected performance.
It is the little things that winning sales people do that makes them winners. So, if all of the competing sales people are going to provide “good” references, can you provide the “best” references? You most certainly can! However, there is a process to do so as “best” is different for each prospect.”
The first step is a conversation with the Procurement Agent. “I received your request for references and I’m happy to provide them. So that I can provide you with the references that best support your initiative, what are you hoping to learn from our clients?” If you can gather that information from the Procurement Agent (don’t say it can’t be done until you try it), you have the roadmap to identifying references. Even if they can’t or won’t provide you with this information, you have at least shown that you care. And “care” can be the differentiator that pushes you across the finish line. All is not lost if you can’t get that information either.
Going forward by taking a step back, think about the account and what is important to them. Reflect on what was learned during the needs analysis discussions. Thinking about that, imagine a different approach to responding to the request for references. If they were concerned about implementation, you provide an account that your company recently implemented. Perhaps, the decision is being made by a CFO, and you provide a reference of a CFO from one of your clients that can speak to your performance. For the third reference, you provide a client that is purchasing the same amount of the same product. From the prospect’s perspective, how great is the opportunity to speak to three clients who can relate to their needs. They are able to gather the information they desire from someone with whom they share something in common. They feel confident in their ability to perform due diligence on their potential supplier. They can make an informed decision.
To take it a step further, imagine rather than simply sending the contact names and phone numbers to that Procurement Agent, you provide a brief narrative explaining to what each client was serving as a reference. How many sales people are doing that?
Still raising the bar, imagine contacting each of the three references and informing them that a call was coming their way to discuss your performance as a supplier. During that call, you share that this prospect is calling to discuss particular areas of the business. Thus, when the prospect calls the reference, the reference is expecting the call and is prepared for the conversation. What a great experience for your prospect and your client. Keep in mind, one great way to burn a relationship with a happy client is to surprise them with a reference phone call. No one likes to be blind-sided or unprepared. I’ve seen more than a few opportunities lost where the prospect cited the reference experience as the deciding factor. An unprepared reference reflects negatively on the supplier.
In a competitive marketplace, every opportunity that you have to demonstrate value to a prospect is critical. Leveraging the reference step of the process can give you just that little edge that pushes you over the top.