How to Not Get Commoditized During the Sales Process

How to Not Get Commoditized During the Sales Process
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It’s All About Differentiation to Not Get Commoditized During the Sales Process
Unless you are selling something that people can’t get enough of or you have no competition, your sales team needs to find effective ways to differentiate your product and services if you do not want to get commoditized during the sales process. Otherwise, you are just another company or sales rep among many and risk facing serious pricing pressure.

The majority of us do have competitors and clients who would like to get a fair, if not the best price.  The majority of customers also do NOT think that most offerings are unique and believe that they have many viable alternatives at their disposal.  The good news is that there’s always a differentiator you can use to show customers they need what you, and only you, are selling.

Unfortunately, we know from solution selling training data that most sellers take the wrong approach.

How to Sell “Right”
Business sales training experts know that to stand out, you need to distinguish both yourself and your offering in a way that resonates with your ideal target clients. The first step is to be clear in your own mind about what sets your offering apart from the pack in the eyes of your buyer.  Is it better?  Faster? Cheaper?  More scalable?  Less risky? More convenient?  More flexible? Delivered differently?  Bundled uniquely?

Make sure that you consider the entire “package” from the customer’s point of view. What distinguishes you as a “partner” in the deal? Recent research by Bain highlighted by our microlearning experts has shown that customers also value what salespeople personally can bring to the table in terms of responsiveness, expertise, and commitment to your customer’s success.

Unless you make your unique value visible in a way that matters most to your buyer, the chances are high that you will get commoditized during the sales process because you have given your buyer price leverage.

What Top Solution Sellers Do
Experienced sales managers know that average solution sellers listen to their buyers and give them what they ask for.  They act and are treated like a commodity by prospective buyers.  Top solution sellers behave differently.  They have high levels of sales conviction that their products and services are the best.

Top solution sellers differentiate themselves and their offering to help their clients to succeed in ways that others cannot. They set themselves apart from the competition and shield deals from price cuts and time delays during the sales negotiation process. They bundle personal and professional value in a compelling way that specifically meets the customer’s needs that is difficult to find elsewhere.

Top Excuses to Not Differentiate
We have heard it all before.  “Our offerings are too boring, too complex, or too difficult to truly differentiate.  We need to win on price.”  This is the swan song of average sellers who do not have the consultative selling skills to identify what matters most to their clients, link their offerings to key pain points, and articulate what sets them apart in a compelling way that resonates with their buyers.

The next time a sales rep tells you that your offerings do not stand apart from the pack, consider this:

  • Water is the ultimate commodity that should face intense pricing pressure.
  • 70% of the earth’s surface is water.
  • In most developed countries, water is readily available from public sources and in every home. 
  • Water is largely tasteless, odorless, and colorless.
  • Massive quantities of water are used on a regular basis for irrigation, manufacturing, and landscaping.
  • Bottled water costs two thousand times as much as tap water and is twice the cost of a gallon of regular gasoline. 
  • Bottled water consumption and sales have increased 312% and 371% since 1991.

There is really no such thing as a commodity. All goods and services can be differentiated in a way that persuades customers what they will buy, who they will buy from, and what they will pay.

If people can be convinced that water is different, you and your sales team should be able to uncover unique ways to position whatever it is you have to sell.  If not, you need to conduct a sales strategy retreat to define your ideal target client profile and your unique value proposition.

The Bottom Line
Customers assign high value when they perceive their specific problems will be solved or their needs will be met in a way that makes sense to them.   Buyers buy from salespeople who clearly and convincingly explain how their proposed solution will help them and their business be successful. The more differentiation you can create in the eyes of your target buyers, the easier it will be to generate leads, loyalty, and pricing premiums.

If you are not sure if your sellers have what it takes to not get commoditized during the sales process, download How to Improve Your Unique Value Proposition and Differentiation to Set Yourself Apart

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