In this episode, Paul shares three tips to differentiate your solution even if the competition claims they can do the same things.
“Don’t just sell products; sell the bundled package.”
The goal is to create barriers that prevent a direct comparison.
Acknowledge the general similarities between you and the competition. This builds credibility.
Detail the unique aspects of your solution.
Most importantly, if the competitor makes the same claims, ___________ the impact.
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How do I differentiate when my competitor is making the same claims?
(Transcribed from podcast)
Today we’ve got a great question. This question actually came from one of my recent virtual training seminars. Question was “Paul, how do you differentiate when your competitors are making the same claims?”
Here’s what happens in sales. You have your competition out there. They’re claiming to do the same things you will do. Let’s say you talk about how you can customize your solution. They’re going to talk about how they customize their solution. You’re going to talk about your great service. They’re going to say, “Hey, we got great service as well.” Now there are going to be some nuances, some differences between you and your competition. The key is how do we find that out? How do we explain that in a way that impacts the buyer? So that’s what we’re going to focus on in today’s show.
Before we get into that, a quick shout-out to our sponsors, Andrea, over at The Creative Impostor Studios. Hey, you’re doing a great job on the podcast. Thanks for all you do. If you need help editing a podcast, launching a podcast, producing, whatever it might be, reach out to Andrea and her team. They do a wonderful job. I know when I first started the podcast, I had a lot of questions. I wasn’t sure how to get started. Andrea was there to help out. So we reached out to her. We’re going to have a link to her website on this episode’s webpage.
Also, pick up your latest copy of Value-Added Selling. It’s available wherever you get your books: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Borders. You name it, you can find it. In the book, we have a whole chapter dedicated to differentiation. So pick up a copy, focus on that chapter. I guarantee you it’s going to help you sell more profitably.
So let’s get back to that question. How do you differentiate when your competitors are making the same claim? I’m going to give you three things to think about today just to help you go out there and sell your key differences.
First things first, remember that you’re selling a bundled package, not just a product. Many of your competitors are out there just selling a product and your products might be similar to theirs, or they might be exactly the same, but you’re selling something bigger than just a product. You’re also selling your company and you’re selling yourself, the salesperson. Collectively we call that the three dimensions of value or the bundled package. You’ve heard us refer to that several times on this show. Now, when you are selling a bundled package, the idea is to create barriers so that they can’t do a direct comparison. Think about it. If you’re both selling the same widget, but you offer additional services—you bundle in different value-added services that your competition is not bundling in—that’s going to give you a key difference.
I can think of one example. I was working with a group of tool distributors. And this one seller, what he would do is he would shrink wrap and palletize his orders. When a customer would order for a turnaround project or something, he would shrink wrap and palletize everything they would need and deliver it to that specific section of the project. That is a value-added service that you can bundle in. That’s going to help block a direct comparison. So, step number one: remember, you’re selling a bundled package and add value so that it makes a direct comparison nearly impossible. Because when your customer is buying the product from you, they’re also buying into all of that value-added services that you provide with them. And that includes the value that you personally bring. Right? No matter how commoditized products are, no matter how similar companies look, you as the salesperson, you can bring that unique dimension of value.
Number two: it’s okay to acknowledge the general similarities, but you want to detail the aspects of your solution that are truly unique. That means you need to go through every product feature and benefit. And I’m talking about, look at the availability of your product; look at how you can customize it. Look at the warranty. Look at the training that is involved. Look at the quality, performance, all of these things. Look at every facet of your product and do a side-by-side comparison. Highlight those things that make your company unique. But at the same time, it’s okay to acknowledge the general similarities. And you might say to the customer, “You know, when you compare our solution to our competition’s, sure, there’s going to be some similarities. And here’s what those are.” And you can talk about quality. You could talk about whatever it might be.
But then you want to switch the conversation and say, “I’d like to highlight, though, some of the more unique aspects of our solution.” And then you go into what makes your solution unique. When you do that side-by-side comparison, you’re going to find something. No matter how commoditized your product is, when you bundle it with your value added and you come up with something new, you have a differentiated solution. So you want to make sure that you highlight—highlight what those unique factors are.
Third thing, and this one is going to be important. You want to quantify and measure what is considered similar. So if you’re competitor is claiming that they have great customer service, and you’re also claiming that you have great customer service, you need to do something to stand out. That means you need to quantify it. So when you’re bragging about your great customer service, conduct some satisfaction surveys. I remember one group I was working with, this is down in Bogotá, Columbia. I went into their office and what they had posted on all over the wall was a 99.7% customer satisfaction ranking. And so, when they were selling to their customers, they can highlight and say, “I know everyone says they have great service, but we have a 99.7% customer satisfaction rating.”
Now if your competitor is not tracking their customer-service ranking, or they’re not tracking their satisfaction rate, that is going to say something. In fact, your customers are more fearful of what they don’t know than what they do know. So they’re going to see you at 99.7%. They’re going to see that the competition isn’t even measuring it. That’s going to send a message to them.
You can do this in several ways. I think about quick response time. One company we did some training with, they would actually track their response time. They would go through every single month, generate a report, put together an average. And then they would publicize that average. They would share it with their sales team. That way when their sales team was out there selling their unique value, they would say, “Hey, I know everyone in the industry promises you a quick response time, but here’s what our average response time was last month.”
They’re giving them a metric. And again, when that customer is looking at your metric and your competition doesn’t have one, they’re going to be more fearful of what they don’t know than what they know from you. They’re more likely to use your information as the benchmark. And if your customer does, your competitor doesn’t have a benchmark, you’re going to come out looking different and looking better. So look at ways that you can establish metrics to the claims that you’re making, whether it’s delivery times, whether it’s quick response, whether it’s great customer service. Find a metric to tie to it. That metric makes it real.
Make it a big day.