Jill Konrath


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[Video] A Surefire Way to Differentiate From Your Competitors


Your prospect is ready to make a change. They've seriously evaluated their options and narrowed it down to you and several of your toughest competitors. Follow this often overlooked, but highly effective strategy to differentiate your product/service and win the business.

VIDEO SCRIPT: How can you really stand out from your competitors?

The answer lies in knowing that every single time you're interacting with your prospects, they're asking themselves "Is this someone I'd want to work with -- not just now, but in the upcoming years?" 

Since that's a key decision point, you need to give them a sense of what it'll be like -- before you get their business. You have to drop your sales mentality and start working with your prospects as if they've already hired you. Let me give you a quickie example.

Usually when you're called in to do a presentation, you do your best job to wow your prospect into thinking how great you and your company are. That's usually what happens & it's really hard to stand out. But here's how I told one of my clients to do in this situation.

I said, "Your job is to go to the meeting and pretend they already gave you the contract. If that happened, what would you do next?"

They said, "We still have lots of unanswered questions. And, we think that there might be a better way to reach their objective."

Knowing that, I told my client that this is what they needed to say when they kicked off their presentation.

"Mr. Prospect, all the information you requested about our company is in this handout. I'll gladly answer any questions you might have about it.

"But what I'd really like to do today is focus more on your challenge and what it's going to take to resolve it. I have some questions that I believe may have an impact on achieving your desired outcome."

With that opening, he caught their undivided attention and they started working together. Working together. Not selling. Yes. He got the business -- and it was easy to do! A Surefire Way to Differentiate From Your Competitors

YOUR TURN: What strategies do you use to differentiate yourself from the competition?  Share your comments below!

Jill KonrathJill Konrath is an internationally recognized sales strategist. As author of two bestselling books, SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies, she's a frequent speaker at sales meetings and conferences. For more fresh ideas, download her free Prospecting Toolkit.


Great Idea - I recently did this (although your wording is far more concise) and got a similar result - My company provides clients with online-software to improve communication (built as simple as a social network but with security, action and workflow tools to achieve goals - basically CRM+project management+Intranet).  
Before a recent sales meeting I did my homework to anticipate a client's needs but nothing could replace that direct client input. By the end of our meeting, I didn't want to assume the sale but felt confident that I had the best solution to resolve their needs because they used their words to say it, not mine. And because it was interactive, they saw how our working relationship would be (I heard later that they had a positive response to that too). The deal is just starting but I am confident the collaboration we had during the presentation will create an overall better experience. 
-Your fan!
Posted @ Monday, April 16, 2012 6:22 AM by Seth Tayler
Great tip. It reminds us that has sales people we are working to help the client achieve success. So, always put yourselves in their shoes, think about their goals and then use your acumen to act as a partner and coach to achieve success. It is not about product features or your company but helping them to solve their business problem.
Posted @ Monday, April 16, 2012 6:25 AM by Cliff Pollan
I liked this. Back to the basics of selling that a salesperson like me who has been doing it for decades...needs to remember. Thanks!
Posted @ Monday, April 16, 2012 7:54 AM by lee janzen
Great perspective! One word of caution I would add is that while this is an excellent approach you need to determine if the prospect is fishing for information or serious about looking for help. I point to your first few lines " they seriously evaluated their options....".
Posted @ Monday, April 16, 2012 8:05 AM by Derick White
Absolutely true Jill. Couldn't have expressed it better.Its a strategy I very ofetn use which I call my post-sell strategy. After the prospect becomes my client, I usually blow up any bombs if they have any to avoid buyers remorse and address any other reasons they might have or any unanswered questions to address concerns. I have on occasion even handed back their check or deposit just to confirm that they are 100% sure of their decision to work with my company. Excellent thing to remember and differentiate yourself.
Posted @ Monday, April 16, 2012 8:12 AM by Vikram Udeshi
Very insightful, Jill! as always. Leave your selling hat at home. Contrary to popular belief, you are not supposed to "always be closing," always working towards the next sale or upsell. Working with clients from a position of confidence and leadership, as if you have already been awarded the business, makes all the difference in the world. It builds trust founded on ethical selling and thought leadership.
Posted @ Monday, April 16, 2012 8:16 AM by Babette Ten Haken
The strategy I have always taken is these scenarios - where the prospect has already "seriously evaluated their options" - is to be the least risky alternative
Most times someone got there first and defined the problem and helped the prospect design the solution and got a head start on developing the relationship. 
This is the person they are most likely to go with unless they do something to make the person who brought them in look bad. 
When it comes to major purchases the research I have seen says that most people are risk averse and will choose the least risky alternative. 
So by the time you get invited they believe that to be the person who got there first. 
The only sales strategy I have seen consistently work in this scenario is demonstrate you are the least risky alternative and when the initial preferred vendor makes a mistake the buyer become even more risk averse and you are now the most likely person to get the business. 
I hope this add to the conversation. 
Have an 'eventful' week! 
Posted @ Monday, April 16, 2012 8:22 AM by Craig Elias - Creator of Trigger Event Selling
Thanks, Jill, It boils down to the question of "Are you here to sell me or to help me". Helping always wins. Thanks for your insight on this subject, I just love learning.
Posted @ Monday, April 16, 2012 2:10 PM by Darlene Saal
Hi Jill, 
As always, a great content nugget.  
The situation of an initial (1st/2nd..) meeting about you should definitely still need to focus almost entirely (if possible, entirely) on the prospect. however the wording in the example is a bit harsh in my point of view. dismissing the meeting's official agenda and following with a not-so-smart question. 
I believe you would agree that the example should be refined in real life situation and in any case, tailored to the situation. 
I advise anyone reading these lines to get your book and get a lengthier more detailed information about the how, what and why to say when. 
Posted @ Tuesday, April 17, 2012 5:14 AM by Guy Vago - Sales Skills Professional
Sales is all about attitude.. the right attitude gets you where you need to go. 
Posted @ Wednesday, April 18, 2012 8:31 AM by cheech
good insights! 
Posted @ Wednesday, April 18, 2012 8:41 AM by laporte
I love this approach, Jill! Something that's worked for me is to start using some of the simple assessments, exercises, and worksheets I would typically use with a clients. A prospect experiences my intellectual property and it sets me apart from the competition.
Posted @ Saturday, April 28, 2012 2:08 PM by Bill Zipp
Lol andvshare!
Posted @ Sunday, January 27, 2013 8:36 PM by Ed
Jill, I always enjoy and learn something from your videos. Thanks.
Posted @ Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:59 PM by David Sher
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