“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
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®
“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
“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”)
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"
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"
“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"
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
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.
“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'
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."
“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
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
“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)
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
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
“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
“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
“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
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”
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"
As a sales manager, for years, you’ve had Human Resources preaching to you about the importance of work-life balance for your sales team. They reminded you that studies showed that productivity increased when employees had balance between their work life and their personal one. They told you that the team needed time to recharge their batteries so they could sell more for the company.
Some still talk about work-life balance, but the truth of the matter is that this is a yesterday issue. Work-life implies that “work” is a stressful world and “life” is a place of solace. Those days are gone with the way our economy has evolved. Your sales team is getting it from both sides now. They have unprecedented, high levels of stress at work and at home. The former life of solace is now filled with concerns of mounting debt, drastic drops in home values, a real fear of job loss, and disgust over their investment portfolio.
When your sales team arrives to start the day at 8am, the reality is that their day is already over. They began their day by watching the morning news. “Unemployment is at a record high! Housing values continues to fall! Consumer confidence is non-existent!” What a great way to start a productive sales day!
Imagine a boxer who gets beaten up before he enters the ring…What chance does he have of being successful in the match? ZERO! Today, your sales team is faced with the same challenges as that boxer. The media is defeating them before their day even begins. They arrive at work to begin their day, but the truth of the matter is that they are already finished. They’ve already lost.
Despite all of these woes, the company is relying on the sales team to pull the company out of the painful downward spiral driven by the economic mess. Logic would tell you that with the present state of affairs, the sales team is more focused than ever on generating sales. Every minute of the business day, they are either on the phone with a prospect or meeting with one. All they can think of is… Make a sale!
Unfortunately, logic does not come into play here. All of the external noise is leading your sales team in the complete opposite direction. They are checking the market hourly, their 401k every 15 minutes, and checking the job boards. It’s as if there is total sales paralysis. Sales productivity is probably at an all time low, at a time when the company needs them most. As the sales manager, this all falls in your lap. You are the face of the sales organization. The company needs you to change your hat from manager to leader to help focus the troops on the task at hand.
Since this is a relatively new issue, most sales managers have not been trained how to help their team regain their focus to drive productivity (a.k.a. sales). As a sales manager, what can you do to regain the reigns of the team and lead them to sales success?
- Communicate, even…over communicate. Open and honest discussion about the present state of affairs helps to relieve the angst that the team is experiencing. As a manager, you may be in a leadership chain, but the team looks to their direct leader for guidance and support.
- Hold the team accountable. While empathetic and understanding, the sales leader needs to remind the team of the task at hand. Direction provided to the team should be clear and team members should be held accountable for performance.
- Coach them. Little things can help your team regain their sales edge. Suggest that they not start their day by watching the morning news. Have them read the news online so they have total control over which news to become informed. They control the information saturation point, not the television media. (This is a prudent thing for you to do as well.)
- Lead by example. While challenging, put on your game face and show confidence. Keep the conversation on the task at hand, not external influences. Smile! If you walk around showing stress, your sales team will mirror your behavior. They will think something is wrong and sales paralysis enters.
- Be visible! When the number of closed door meetings increases, sales people speculate that something is wrong. While a productive meeting may be taking place inside, on the other side of the door, your entire sales team is talking about what you may be discussing in your meeting. In the absence of direct knowledge, your sales team will guess the meeting is about gloom and doom. Limit your closed door meetings. Be visible with your sales team. Join them on sales calls. Meet with clients.
Other industry experts have also weighed in on this issue. If they were talking to a sales manager about how to focus their sales team and drive productivity, they suggest…
“Sales managers must remember the behavior of sales people is driven by the desire to avoid pain or gain pleasure. The more powerful of these two drivers is the desire to gain pleasure. Smart sales managers recognize that achievement and recognition of that achievement are the two most powerful motivators in sales. So instead of cracking the whip, they are whipping up contests, games, spiffs, and awards that keep their sales professionals focused, happy, and engaged.”
– Jeb Blount, CEO of SalesGravy.com and author of “People Buy You”
“Stop being complacent to selling professionals. Selling professionals control their destiny more than any other organizational function. Nothing happens unless something is sold. Selling professionals must speak with customers, requesting referrals and closing business. Watching the news is simply a form of procrastination. They must discover the unspent allocated money from the current budget year and request the business. Products and services are still needed. Tell selling professionals to do what the competition is not – sell something!”
–Drew Stevens, PhD, Business Growth Consultant and author of Split Second Selling and Ultimate Business Bible
“Managers need to shift away from fear based management and develop more of a collaborative coaching culture. You cannot inspire others when you are afraid and you can’t be inspired when you’re full of fear and worry. Conduct more frequent one-to-one meetings, build greater accountability by relinquishing your role as Chief Problem Solver and have less tolerance for mediocrity. Ultimately, management needs to adapt, innovate and evolve or suffer from corporate inefficiency, rigidity and declining profits.”
–Keith Rosen, Executive Sales Coach and author of the award winning, Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions
“In tough times, sellers must be at the top of their game. As a sales manager, your job is to infuse your team with fresh thinking – to make sure they have the knowledge and skills to deal with today’s challenges. Start a “book of the month” club. Register for webinars or teleseminars put on by sales experts. Encourage sign up for sales e-newsletters. Lead weekly “how we won” sessions. For maximum impact, start now!”
–Jill Konrath, Sales Strategist & author of Selling to Big Companies and Snap Selling
“Sales managers must help salespeople to maintain clarity, calm their nerves, help them function, keep them positive, get them motivated, challenge them to perform, urge them to fill their pipelines and hold them accountable to all of that. And talking the talk isn’t quite enough. When conducting pre-call strategizing, coaching must include how the account or call plan will be executed – with role play – so that sales managers are certain their salespeople truly have the ability to get it done. Your pipelines may have been thrown into a holding pattern. Orders haven’t canceled or been lost to competitors; they are simply delayed. The sooner that everyone gets over their initial reaction to the recession and gets back to just doing business, the sooner that money will loosen up and start changing hands again.”
–Dave Kurlan, Sales Development Expert, and author of Baseline Selling
“To get the malaise out of your sales team give them permission to press the “off button” and shut out the negative media. Protect seller’s natural optimism – have contests for the best joke of the day – buy coffee for the winner. Equip them with the winning words – role-play the very words decision-makers long/need/want to hear: which are how your product increases revenues; decreases expenses; mitigates risk.”
–Leslie Buterin, founder ColdCallingNetNews.com
“We read & hear the doom and gloom every day about this economy. Well, I believe we need to start managing our attitudes and mindsets, as well as our sales efforts. It is time to look at all the challenges, issues and problems as OPPORTUNITIES wearing disguises. Strip off the disguises, identify the opportunity and deliver a solution. Be positive, persistent, proactive and patient in this time of change.”
–J. Glenn Ebersole, “Your Strategic Thinking Business Coach”
“Here’s my best piece of advice to those leading sales teams today: Do all you can to continually boost your staff’s confidence — confidence in themselves, confidence in their product, and confidence in the problems your product solves for your customers. Suggestions on how to do that: Remind them of successful case studies often. Feed them creative ways to confidently answer your top objections. Work with them one-on-one to develop their own individual style, so they sound and act naturally confident. Today’s customers have NO margin for error in choosing their suppliers; do all you can to help your staff be the ones that others can trust to make them look good!”
–Bill Guertin, CEO, The 800-Pound Gorilla and author of Reality Sells and The 800-Pound Gorilla of Sales
“Many sales teams are not only going through a big wake up call on the economic front, but are going through an earth moving generational shift…from Baby Boomers and Generation X running the show to men and women under the age of 30 making critical business decisions for our organizations. At the end of the day, they want to know “How are my ideas being incorporated and actually applied to our sales processes to make us better at what we do?”
–Bea Fields, Leadership and Generation Y Consultant and co-author of the book Millennial Leaders: Success Stories From Today’s Most Brilliant Generation Y Leaders
“To create momentum, keep your sales team focused on what they need to do today, or this week, by implementing a 20 point system. On this system, they earn points for doing the right types of sales activities: conversations, appointments booked, face-to-face meetings, referrals, closed files and closed business. The focus on the right kind of activities with targeted prospects will result in creating the desired energy.”
–Danita Bye, President of Sales Growth Specialists
“Sales managers should hold a meeting with their sales teams with a focus on creating two lists: one containing the things the salespeople CAN’T control, and one containing the things they CAN control. Managers should then encourage their salespeople to focus 100% of their attention on the things they CAN control. Nothing blows away feelings of helplessness like having an action plan and TAKING DAILY ACTION against that plan.”
– Alan Rigg, Sales Performance Expert, and author of How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Sales Team Performance
“Downturn leadership requires laser-like focus. Focus to reinforce customer service, existing customer relationships, and presence in the marketplaces. This results in improved perception of market position and stronger, more profitable customer relationships (again, what every sales leader wants more of). Focus on the “vital few” – the 20 percent of customers, product lines, industries that has the greatest impact. Do not only rely on your instincts to identify your vital few—use data to determine the truth about your sales and customers.”
–Lee J. Colan, Ph.D., author of Sticking to It: The Art of Adherence
“During this time of stress, management needs to attend to the emotional needs of their sales professionals. Part of that attention is to help them understand what they can change and what is beyond their abilities to change. For example they can change their attitude in how they approach each day, keeping a positive focus and working to produce results. What they can’t change is how the market will fluctuate on an hour by hour basis.”
–Gregory Stebbins, Ed.D., internationally recognized Sales Psychologist
“Sales managers need to roll up their sleeves and join the team. The worse thing to do in this situation is to add pressure from above with no active participation in the solution. The sales teams I’ve coached tell me that because I’m in the trenches with them, they are more motivated—even in tough times. Your sales team needs to know you are in it with them. Together you will conquer!”
–Shannon Kavanaugh, president of Go-To-Market Strategies
“In order to re-energize your team you need to help them become more successful. The fastest way you can do that is by establishing a killer sales strategy that focuses on a moderate amount of ideal clients. An effective strategy positions you as the industry expert, educates the client/prospect on how to run their business better, sets the buying criteria and establishes doing business with you as a forgone conclusion. Your sales people will be fired up because they are closing lots of business, making good money and loving life!”
–Andy Miller, sales strategist
“Although the current economic situation presents problems for you and your sales team, it also presents unprecedented opportunities. There are still prospects buying and customers purchasing additional products and services, and your competitors are facing the same daunting and depressing news. Salespeople who overcome their lethargy and seek new business can turn this economic downturn into a record-breaking year. Empathize with their issues, but emphasize the tremendous opportunities your team has while their competition is sitting on the sidelines.”
–Paul McCord, management consultant and author of the Sales and Sales Management Blog
“The key to making the sale in this economy is to help your team stay focused on solving real customer problems and enabling them to add immediate value to their business. We have been in this economic situation before and we will be here again – the strong will survive and 20% of sales people will exceed their quota in spite of the economy. Our job as sales managers is to not let the economy become the excuse for non performance and lack of productivity.”
–Julie Thomas, President and CEO of Value Selling Associates and author of ValueSelling: Driving up Sales One Conversation at a Time
“The sales manager needs to communicate the company’s vision, mission, values, goals, and expectations to the sales team weekly and then reward their accountability. The senior management team must define and communicate the criteria for a profitable customer and all sales efforts need to be focused on securing and managing those accounts. The sales professionals, who learn how to thrive in this economy, will develop skills and talents that will guide them to long-term success.”
–Janet Boulter, Profitability Consultant, Center Consulting Group
“Salespeople will be excited to come to work when they adopt a referral-selling strategy. They’ll meet with decision makers, shorten their sales process, and convert prospects to clients more than 50% of the time—while acing out the competition and landing new, profitable clients. They’ll meet only with the people they want to meet and who want to meet them. What an irresistible proposition! Money in their pockets. What a great motivator!”
–Joanne Black, founder of No More Cold Calling and author of No More Cold Calling™: the Breakthrough System That Will Leave Your Competition in the Dust
“The issue has become one of finding and sustaining mental energy. Not just the energy you and your team need to achieve sales. Even more important is your ability to sustain the enthusiasm, calm and inspiration needed to get your team through these torrid times. Instead of work life balance, it’s about getting the right flow of personal energy input and business energy output. Having an enjoyable personal interest that enables you to switch off is a good start.”
–Peter Nicholls, Director, Work Leisure International
“My recommendation is simple. Identify specifically two things that your sales professionals have done well to adjust to the new marketplace. Once you determine them, discuss 2-3 areas that you both agree are in need of development. Reach out to all your sales professionals and repeat this process. Compile the responses and put together a measurable action plan for your team. And don’t forget to follow through.”
–Charles Brennan Jr., President of Brennan Sales Institute and author of Sales Questions That Close the Sale
“Employ equal doses of inspiration, motivation, and oversight to simultaneously raise morale and maintain production levels. Use anecdotes from well-known figures in history who’ve met and overcome challenges. Set specific short-term goals, and monitor progress against them. Project an air of optimism, and lead by example. Direct the team to focus with laser-like discipline on only those opportunities that have real legs. Provide oversight to ensure they are maintaining that focus.”
–Craig James, sales consultant and trainer, president of Sales Solutions