In the Billy Crystal classic “City Slickers,” there is a recurring theme of the search for the one thing that matters in life. Salespeople, in their quest for a compelling sales strategy, are also searching for that one thing…the thing that sets them apart from the competition.
“ What makes us unique?” That’s the big question salespeople ask of their management teams and themselves. They hope that, in response to their query, they will be given magical words to say to buyers that will lead them to hitting quota with ease.
Oftentimes, there is no magic for them to share. When salespeople can’t find that one thing, they get angry, frustrated, and downtrodden. Some may even brush off their resume and begin searching for another job.
But are salespeople asking the wrong question of their managers? They ask about “unique,” but isn’t the real question about “differentiators?” Perhaps you think those are one and the same, but I’d challenge you to research them. On Thesaurus.com, a search of the word “different” (there isn’t an entry for “differentiator”) does not return a synonym of “unique.”
The word “unique” suggests that you are the only one in the world to possess some particular aspect. But uniqueness is not a requirement for an effective sales differentiation strategy. Even a patent, which means you have something truly unique, does not last forever.