Stu Schlackman

The Relationship Selling Expert - Building High-Performance Teams

Differentiating Your Selling






How Well do you Differentiate?

How would you like to be the CEO of Encyclopedia Britannica? Or how about Blockbuster or Borders Books? I’m guessing you wouldn’t be interested – certainly not in this day and age. With the advent of the internet and 24/7 access to information literally at your fingertips, many companies have either gone out of business or had to dramatically change their business model. Exponential change is now the norm.

Think about it. When was the last time you bought a roll of film for a camera? What? Film? Most Millennial’s think of film as the dust on a counter. Kodak invented the digital camera yet still got hurt by the smart phone camera. Today, film is – for most – obsolete!

Jack Trout is one of the pioneers of positioning theory and is a mental giant in the world of marketing.

One of his more popular books, Differentiate or Die focuses on the very change we’ve been considering. In it, Jack makes the following statement: “If you are wedded to the past, you’re going to fail.” I certainly agree with Jack – change is accelerating like never before and if you think what works today will work for tomorrow-think again!

When selling your products and services, one differentiator that does not work – now or before – is price. Jack makes the statement that “Price is often the enemy of differentiation.” He goes on to say, “By definition, being different should be worth something. It’s the reason that supports the case for paying a little more-or at least the same-for a product or service.

But when price becomes the focus of a message or a company’s marketing activities, you are beginning to undermine your chances to be perceived as being unique. What you’re really doing is making price the main consideration for picking you over your competition. That’s not a healthy way to go.”

The good news for you is that most of your competitors probably focus on price. They typically do not understand differentiation the way you can or do. As professionals, you must sell your unique value-what differentiates you. Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) is what customers are willing to pay for.

Jack reminds us what these automotive companies sell:

  • BMW - Driving
  • Volvo - Safety
  • Mercedes - Engineering
  • Jaguar - Styling
  • Toyota & Honda - Reliability
  • Ferrari - Speed

They’re not selling steel and glass. They’re selling an experience or an emotion, as described above.

What do you sell? What sets you apart from your competition? What unique value will motivate your prospects to pay a little more because you bring something no one else does?

Lead with how you’re different – something your competition can not equal. That’s your advantage to winning the sale.

Jack Trout is a marketing genius, and a prolific writer. In addition to Differentiate or Die, which I highly recommend – you may also want to read, RePositioning and The 22 Laws of Immutable Marketing besides several others.

To learn more about the advantages of a product differentiation strategy: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/advantages-product-differentiation-strategy-17691.html.

Good selling!
Stu

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