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How To Make Your Products Or Services Stand Out

Update June 2021

Securing sales comes down to persuading the customer to choose your solution over your competitors. Not only do you have to convince the customer that your company and products are different, but you also have to convince them that the difference is worth paying for. Here are a few ways to make your product and services stand out.

What is Typical

When companies are asked what makes people choose them over their competitors, the usual responses are:

  • “We’ve been in this business for years. We have an experience that people appreciate.”
  • “We have the best customer service. We are far more responsive to our customers than anybody else.”
  • “We have high-quality products,” or “Our product is new and innovative.”
  • “Our salespeople are great to work with. Our customers love that relationship.”

Does any of that sound familiar? In most cases, your competitor is saying the same thing. You never hear anyone say, “Our customer service is just okay.” In many cases, you cannot prove these claims unless they have bought from you already.

Buyer Habits

So how does the customer choose? According to The Market Blender, “34% of B2B buyers say their purchase decisions are driven most by features, while 27% say price and 39% say brand.”

If that customer is presented with companies that all boast the same advantages, the customer will almost always go with the lowest cost option.

But only one company can be the cheapest. If you get sucked into playing that game, you will usually find yourself losing sales and profits. Either way, that means less money coming in.

How To Stand Out

So how do you differentiate yourself without lowering the price? You have to truly be different, and it must be in a way that the customer values. You also need to be able to effectively communicate that difference. According to InkSoft, “45.6% of B2B buyers want to hear new ideas at the beginning of a sales conversation.”

Here is an exercise you can conduct with your team to make sure they understand what makes your company or product different and how they can convince the customer that your difference is worth it.

The exercise:

  • List all of the things that you believe make you different or give you a competitive advantage.
  • Make a second list of all the advantages your competitors claim.
  • Cross off anything that is found on both lists. Put yourself in the customer’s shoes when doing this.
    • If you both claim superior customer service, it doesn’t matter if you think yours is genuinely better. The prospect cannot tell the difference.
    • If you have been in business for 25 years and your competitor for 20, cross it off. Those extra five years probably do not matter in the prospect’s mind.
  • Anything that didn’t get crossed off is the element that truly sets you apart from the competition. 

Dig A Little Deeper

Now you have to determine if these differences are actual selling points. Take whatever remains and run them through this series of questions.

Is it Really Unique? 

Does any other company offer it or something similar to it? If they do, what makes yours different or better than theirs?

Is it Easier to Use Than Your Competitors’ Solution? 

Do you have specialized people that can support this product or service? Does it save them more money or time? Does it make them more money in some way?

Does it Have Any Claim to Fame? 

Was it voted best by an authoritative source that your customer trusts?

Is it Something People are Willing to Pay More For?

Just because it is different does not mean the customer will pay more for it.

If you can answer yes to all or most of those questions, then you’ve found a unique selling point. Not only does it truly set you apart from the competition, but it also does so in a way that the customer actually cares about.

What This Should Accomplish

Running through this exercise with your sales team helps them come to these conclusions themselves rather than just being told. This way, they will have a deeper understanding of what customers want and what your company can offer them, which allows them to ask more focused questions that highlight your advantages. 

This approach can mean closing the deal without having to be the lowest price out there.

The Results

Identifying what makes you different and stand out from your competition can be all that’s in your way from making the sale. Selling to people who care about what makes you different will lead to more profitable sales because they see the value and how it fits their needs. Try this exercise with your team and see what they identify as your differentiators.

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About Mike Braun

Mike is a founder and co-owner of Pivotal Advisors. He has worked for 30+ years as a salesperson and sales leader. Mike has been a guest speaker for many groups such as University of Minnesota, MN Quality Council, and ASTD. If you want to find out more about Mike check out his profile here.
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