“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 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'
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
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
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
“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
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"
“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”)
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”
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
“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
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)
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."
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"
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"
“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
“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
Superman, as strong he is, is paralyzed by kryptonite. It brings him to his knees despite his superhuman strength. Sales people have their own kryptonite called RFPs, the dreaded Request for Proposal. An RFP process doesn’t have to be kryptonite. Superman has no choice but to fight this nemesis to survive. Unlike Superman, sales people have choices.
For one, there is no law that says you have to respond to every RFP that crosses your desk. You have the right to say no. Some of you are now thinking that I’m insane, but it’s true. Let me turn the tables on you for a moment. The definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. If you aren’t the low price provider and you have no relationship with the prospect, how can you possibly win the business? You can’t and won’t. Therefore, sending in countless RFP responses under these conditions will yield nothing but losses. So, who’s crazy now?
Sure, when the pipeline isn’t as full as it should be, it is a natural reflex to want to pursue every RFP you can get your hands on. Yet, filling out an RFP is work. It also has a cost to both you and your company. While you are working on an RFP which you have little chance of winning, you aren’t prospecting for business that has a much higher chance of award. Look, we all get the same number of hours in our day. What you elect to do with yours determines whether or not you are successful in sales.
A couple of things you should know about RFPs. First is that there is a disconnect between Procurement and their customers (called users). Often times, Procurement authors the RFP and establishes the measurement criteria for evaluating the submissions. However, when you speak to the actual user, they say that the criteria developed by Procurement is inconsistent with their needs. Thus, a supplier is selected for a user based on flawed criteria.
Another thing you should know is that an RFP is not necessarily a commitment to make a change in provider. Some companies require that they source the business every x amount of time. Ever wonder how that RFP got in your inbox? Procurement will surf the web and pick a handful of providers to whom they will send the RFP and off it goes. It helps to know that Procurement folks are measured on their ability to reduce cost to the company. Just like a sales person’s scorecard is based on achievement of their sales quota, Procurement’s quota is based on cost reduction. The RFP that arrived in your inbox could very well be their attempt to put the squeeze on the current provider so they can show a 10% savings. Don’t kid yourself. This happens a lot!
One final thing you should know about RFPs is that they are sometimes used as a manager tactic. For example, some people are too nice to tell you “no,” so they hide behind the statement that their company only buys through the RFP process. Don’t buy that for a second. No company exclusively buys this way. Even the Federal Government, who is the most formal buyer, does not limit their purchasing to this means. Sales people, present company included, sell products and services to the Feds without an RFP being issued. It can be done!
There is also a safety net for managers when they buy through RFPs as multiple people are involved in the selection process. If the supplier fails to perform, the finger can’t just be pointed at one person. During your needs analysis discussions, you can often get a feel for who really wants the RFP, the company or the person with whom you are meeting. Don’t underestimate the fear of blame. Many managers try to stay off the radar screen so they don’t want to create risk for themselves.
Dealing with an RFP where you have a relationship with the prospect is the subject of a future article. Keeping us focused on the blind ones, as I said before, you have choices. You could just respond to every RFP. Or, you could just chuck it in the trash. Care for a third option? What if you called the Procurement person and had a conversation that sounded like this,
“Hi, I’m Lee Salz with XYZ Services. I just received your RFP in the mail and wanted to ask you a few questions so I can determine if it makes sense for us to respond. As you can imagine, we receive many RFPs and are very selective when determining to which we will respond.”
With that said, one of a few things can happen. She could give you permission to ask your questions. Or she could say, “Fill out the RFP, or not. It’s up to you.” My vote is to decline any RFP where the Procurement person won’t allow you to ask questions of them. How can you have a fighting chance to win if they won’t speak with you?
With permission granted to ask questions, what is it you need to know to decide if it makes sense to participate in this process?
How did they get your name for inclusion in this process?
Why is this RFP out now?
Have they definitively decided to change providers?
What criteria will be used to score the RFPs?
What are the steps of the process after the RFP is submitted?
Sure, there are a ton of other questions you could ask, but this information will best help you to determine if you have a chance at winning this account. The rule of thumb is that the less information Procurement shares, the lower your chances of winning the account.
Yes, walking away from the mega-deal is hard and painful. But is this deal real or simply a mirage? Watch any Superman movie and you will see that he overcomes his kryptonite peril. Will you overcome yours?