No Competitive Advantage
Since the beginning of my sales career I was thought and trained to put focus on the competitive strengths of products I was selling. Later when I started my own company I was doing my best to include in our portfolio products and services with clear competitive advantages over our competition. When our product / service has competitive strengths, there are several key elements that should be the focus of our sales approach. In my perception, two most important ones would be:
- Always highlight the benefits of your product / service that have clear advantage over the competition
- Support benefits with concrete data and case studies
However, sometimes our products / services are just commodities, without unique competitive advantage. In today’s highly competitive market, selling such products / services can be a daunting task for any sales professional. The key is to be creative and think outside the box. If there is no competitive advantage on product / service side, we need to create one in another (for our clients) relevant aspects of the sells process.
Zoom out and look at the big picture, product / service features are just one element of the puzzle. Explore other relevant elements of the process, and play on those that can be your competitive advantage.
Put yourself in your client’s shoes, even if they choose to use your product or service, they will have no reason to keep using it unless there is something in the whole process that they see as a benefit for them.
Here are a few useful tactics that might serve you as an inspiration, to build your own competitive advantage over others (when your product / service doesn’t have one):
- Instead of focusing on the features of your product, shift the conversation to the customer’s needs and connect your product or service with it.
- Provide exceptional customer service and make sure your customer’s experience is enjoyable and easy.
- Bundle your product with complementary products or services.
- Offer a free trial or demonstration of your product / service.
- Share customer testimonials with positive experiences.
- Be open to make changes or modifications to your product / service based on customer feedback.
- Focus on the brand and its reputation.
- Use social proof to build trust and credibility.
- Partner with influencers, affiliates or other companies to promote your product / service.
- If possible, customize the product / service to suit the needs of your customers.
How responsive are you on the scale from 1 to 10?
Responsiveness in sales can be defined as the ability of a salesperson to quickly and effectively react to customer needs and wants, and to provide solutions in a timely manner. It is the ability to be present, attentive and to be able to adapt to changing circumstances and customer needs. On the long run, responsiveness is crucial for building trust and credibility, as well as for maintaining a positive, long-term relationships with your clients.
If you are interested to raise your level of responsiveness make sure that you:
- … really understand the customer‘s needs, concerns, and pain points,
- … are timely responsive,
- … share the info that address client’s needs,
- … make regular follow-ups.