How do you differentiate yourself?

Who cares about your Experience and Qualifications?

I read and listen to hundreds sales presentations each year. I am continually surprised at how ineffective salespeople are at differentiating themselves and their company from the rest of the herd.

My favorite is some variation of “we’ve been in business for 25 years.” Does anyone really care? Does that mean you’ve been doing the same thing over and over without change or innovation for 25 years? How does this make you different from the company in business for 30 years, or 20 years, or 2 years? Tell us how have you progressed and what you offer today.

Those longevity statements will tell us you may be qualified, but it says nothing about the unique value you bring to your customer. What will separate you from other qualified people, or company? What makes you relevant to the problems your customer faces?

Tell us what you’ve done specifically for customers and why your approach is different, or special. Sweeping statements may apply to everyone…or no one. Customers want to know why they should choose you over the next person in the door. Tell me the unique business value that I will receive from your services or solutions. Organizations are looking for new, fresh, young blood. So unless you demonstrate that you’ve evolved, your years of experience mean little to nothing.

Let’s look at an example. Here’s a consultant looking for new clients

“I have 15 years of management experience leading inside sales and customer service teams. I have experience in manufacturing and distribution. I have coached and trained salespeople and customer service reps…”

How is this different from what every other consultant will say? How can he tie this to what his clients are looking for in a consultant? What if he added “In 12 months I produced a 70% increase in sales, I reduced employee turnover to zero and increased margins 22%. Now, that’s differentiation!

I’m not suggesting you eliminate all reference to qualifications and longevity. Those establish credibility and demonstrates this isn’t your first rodeo. But, a balance between credibility and performance sets you apart from your competition.

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