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”
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"
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
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
“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
“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'
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
“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®
“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.
“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"
“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
“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”)
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
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."
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
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"
The sales team is the primary revenue source for most businesses. However, this revenue is not without significant cost. If not carefully managed, this revenue source can easily become a money pit. There are five areas business executives should watch to ensure they make wise investments in their sales teams.
Hiring. In most organizations, if a new idea is proposed that costs $25,000 to implement, blue ribbon panels are commissioned, meetings are held and a decision is ultimately made. After all, the company is considering a significant investment which requires careful consideration.
However, when a company is hiring a salesperson at a salary of $25,000, there isn’t nearly the same level of due diligence performed. Yet, it’s the same $25,000! In essence, the worst mistake a company can make is to hire sales people. Adding headcount to a sales team should be viewed as an investment made in revenue. Recognizing that this is an investment is a critical first step toward driving sales team profitability.
As executives evaluate sales candidates, there is a perception that they can hire great salespeople. Unfortunately, there are no great salespeople. They don’t exist! The issue is the word “great.” Greatness isn’t a standalone quality, but rather an attribute of the relationship between the salesperson and the sales role in your company. Don’t believe it? How many sales people have you hired – great resume, fantastic track record, polished appearance – and they failed in your company?
If you believe that there is an entity called “great salesperson,” you must also agree to one of the two of the following statements:
“When the salesperson arrived at my company, she completely forgot how to sell.”
“Our company is the absolute worst company to sell for in the history of business.”
After all, what other choices could there be if this person is truly a great seller? Companies with highly profitable sales teams don’t search for great salespeople. Their quest is to find the right salespeople with the potential to be great on their sales teams. While this may seem subtle, its impact is not.
This quest begins with a 360-degree analysis of the role to determine the factors that impact investment performance. Once all of those factors are identified, an evaluation program is put in place to contrast candidates with those performance factors. Now, instead of looking across the desk wondering if this candidate is a “great seller,” potential investors (which is what the executive team becomes when adopting this philosophy) are looking for synergy – or lack thereof – between the candidate and the needs of the role.
Onboarding. Many executives believe that – once they’ve hired a salesperson – the hard work is over. And, why shouldn’t they believe that? They’ve just hired a great salesperson! Hand the new salesperson a phone book and send him off to sell.
Highly profitable companies recognize the real work is about to begin when a new salesperson investment is made … for both the new salesperson and the company. This work comes in the form of an onboarding program. Onboarding is commonly seen as completing new-hire paperwork and getting the salesperson’s office ready to go. While administrative work needs to be done, that does nothing to protect the new investment or ensure a healthy return on it.
During the recruiting process, the evaluation program helped the investors make an informed decision prior to extending an offer to the candidate. The new salesperson arrives at the company with potential, but a program is needed to ensure the potential becomes reality – in as little time as possible. After all, every minute that the seller is on the bench, not yet ready to sell for the company, she is merely a cost on the books.
The starting point in the development of a sales onboarding program is the end. In other words, without identifying the program objectives, it’s impossible to create effective onboarding curriculum. The investors need to clearly identify the finish line for the onboarding program based on expectations they have of those new salespeople who successfully complete it. Those expectations are identified in the context of KNOW-DO-USE. If a new salesperson has successfully completed the onboarding program…
What should they KNOW?
KNOW refers to information like product knowledge and territory analysis.
What should they be able to DO?
DO refers to actions like conducting a sales calls or delivering a corporate presentation.
What should they be able to USE?
USE refers to tools or systems like a CRM or order management system.
KNOW-DO-USE provides the framework to identify the desired onboarding outcomes. With that, the onboarding curriculum is designed to lead the new salespeople to this finish line.
How do you know they are meeting expectations? Investors want visibility into the performance of their investments. There should be quizzes, a final exam and simulations to ensure proficiency has been acquired. If the new salesperson does not meet expectations, based on what the investors have documented as their expectations of someone who has successfully completed the onboarding program, there is an opportunity to protect the company by ending the investment early.
Managing. There is an age-old debate on micro versus macro management. Micro-management is often defined as constant, in your face management. Macro-management is aligned with the French “laissez-faire” philosophy of leave them alone. The debate seems to be limited to these two extremes. Yet, top performing companies cast this debate aside and take on a different philosophy.
Hiring and onboarding are seen through the lens of an investment in revenue. Managing the sales team falls in line with the “investment philosophy” as well. Each salesperson on the team represents an investment made on behalf of the company. When investors consider investment opportunities, they look for a sound business plan. This is the same philosophy highly-profitable sales teams have in place to ensure there is a strong return on investment.
The investor team develops a sales business plan template which is structured in a “wizard-format.” The plan is designed so that the investors can get a high level of confidence in the strategy, tactics and measures for each member of the sales team. Once the plan is completed by the salesperson, an investor call is held during which the the salesperson presents the plan for acceptance.
During the call, the investor team asks questions to instill confidence in their investment decision. Once accepted, periodic calls are held to update the investor team on sales business plan implementation progress.
Rather than argue micro-management or macro-management, these companies have a management structure in place that positions them for a high return on their sales team investment. Those sellers that perform well receive additional investment (time, dollars, resources, etc.). Those that don’t, they find their business ventures no longer funded.
Measuring. There is no end to the data associated with sales and it’s easy to get lost in it. Worse yet, it’s common for executives to focus on the wrong data points. Companies that recognize that the sales team is a revenue investment develop their sales metric management system designed to help them analyze performance.
Many start their system with “revenue” identified as their first metric. Yet, revenue is not a metric. It’s a result of the right metrics being delivered upon by the sales team with the right frequency. Companies can’t affect revenue, but they can affect the behaviors that lead to it. The investor team identifies a series of metrics that indicate that the business is on track. There are four criteria for each metric that is to be included in a sales metric management system:
1. Measurable. It is easily quantifiable as opposed to merely gut-feel.
2. Meaningful. The data point indicates something of importance to the business and seller performance.
3. Trainable. If a seller is deficient in this area, training can be provided to improve performance.
4. Goal-oriented. As it is measurable and meaningful, a driver is needed to ensure it is achieved.
With a sales metric management system in place, the investors have the ability to monitor the corporate investment and take swift action.
Compensating. “You’re only as good as your last sale.” This is one of the worst expressions ever uttered as it conflicts with how businesses are measured. Wall Street looks at tomorrow much more than yesterday. And, it is this expression that leads companies to develop flawed sales compensation strategies.
Traditional thought is that sellers are paid an incentive over their salary because they sold something yesterday. Profit-focused companies pay an incentive to get more sales in the future. Their focus is on growing a healthy sales pipeline in addition to winning accounts. When companies pay for yesterday’s news, their performance chart resembles an EKG.
The common starting point when developing a sales compensation plan is to ask:
“How much do we want our sellers to make if they achieve plan?”
While this is an important question, it should not serve as the foundation for the compensation plan. Since paying dollars beyond salary is a further investment made by the company the foundation question to be asked is:
“By paying an incentive (bonus, commission, etc.) to our sellers,how will that help us get more of the sales we want in the future?”
The answer to that question helps to guide the development of a sales compensation plan that not only rewards for yesterday’s results, but for a healthy sales pipeline.
Each of these five areas has a major impact in the profitability of your sales team. While it may seem like a large undertaking, the result of transitioning your sales team to a “revenue investment philosophy” is exactly what the corporate bottom-line needs