How Do You Differentiate Yourself From the Competition When Your Products are Similar?
XYZ Competitor just left the prospects office, and you’re up next.
How do you differentiate yourself without being biased? How do you differentiate without being negative towards the competitor? How do YOU differentiate yourself from the competitor when your products are similar? Are you really different?
First Step: Sit down and think about all phases of your company’s process that occurs before, during and after the sale. Start with you as the sales professional, then the implementation team, to customer service etc. How are your processes different from the competitor? List those things that are different and better. Get into the details.
Key Point: It’s Really Not About If Your Product is Different.
I know…You’re thinking right not…
‘WHAT the heck are you saying, Christine’
This is counter to what you’ve been taught. Keep reading to find out why.
Here are a 4 tips.
TIP #1 Context First
If you get the question from the prospect, “How are your different from XYZ Competitor?” Your first instinct may be to launch into the negatives of XYZ Competitor. Hold on Buttercup. Not so fast. Take a breath and instead put a little context around your answer first.
Tell the prospect that you’re happy to answer the question, but there is some risk around how you answer the question because it may come across negative about the competitor, and that’s not your intent.
Your intent is to….
“show you, Mr. Prospect, how I approach your problem. Then it’s up to you decide which is best for you.”
This conversation will help balance your answer without sounding like a negative Nellie against your competitor.
TIP #2 Your Competing with the Prospects Problem.
It could very well be that your product is the same as your competitor or many competitors. It could be there’s very little difference between your company and the next. This presents a challenge for you to sell against the competitor because other than price, how can you be different? The last thing you want is a price war focusing only on the price component.
So Instead of talking in circles distinguishing your product/company from the competitor, and risk sounding snarky, focus on how you solve the problem for the prospect in a different way. Show the prospect how your process will work with his team to make the transition smooth and seamless to solve his problem. Redirect the prospect by remaining focused on how you can solve his problem in a different way.
TIP #3 Ask Better Questions
Chances are you’re not the only sales rep the prospect has talked to about his problem. And guess what? Chances are Mr. Prospect has heard the same tired questions a kazillion times.
How can you be different? ASK BETTER QUESTIONS!
When you get these responses from the prospect…
“That’s a good question. Let me think about that.”
“I’ve never been asked that question before”
Bingo! You’ve differentiated yourself.
Don’t wing it with questions. Questions are an important way to make a favorable impression AND distinguish yourself as a sales professional instead of just another sales rep. You’ll be judge more on the questions you ask than the answers you give.
BIG TIP: Here’s the one question you can ask that will reveal so much!
When the prospect asks a question, after you answer it, follow up with
“Mr. Prospect, why did you ask that question?”
“Mr. Prospect, the question you just asked me. Is that important to you?”
There’s a variety of ways to ask, but don’t ask it after every question. It’s important to ask at least a few times because the question usually reveals the pain points.
TIP #4 Let Your Testimonials Do the Talking
Follow with client testimonials, especially those that you’ve won against the competitor. Let your clients sell for you. There’s nothing more powerful than loyal clients who sing your praises!
Be careful not to fall into the trap of good or bad. ‘My company and product is good. The competitor’s company and product is bad.’ You can’t assume that everything you offer is good for the prospect…it’s just different or a different way to solve the prospects problem.
Why is this important? Because the prospect can see right through you as being completely biased if you don’t remain neutral. Being biased you’re selling for you instead of helping the prospect solve a problem. Work from a level of detachment from the outcome which will help you work for the best solution for the prospect. And it may be you’re not the right fit. You need to be ok with that as well. As a result, the prospect will see you as authentic and having his best interest.
Remember, you’re not competing against the competitor, you’re competing on how to solve the prospect’s problem. This aligns you with the prospect as a partner, solving his problems together. It takes the competitor out of the equation.
Jump in on the discussion. Scroll down to the comment section and leave your thoughts about this subject. I’d love to hear how you differentiate yourself!