Are You Really That Different From Your Competition?

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

red woman hands upOne of our clients had a particular dilemma, described here by one of the sales team:

“Our clients think our products are just a commodity, and so mainly focus on the price against our competition. We know that our products are different, have differential qualities and will be better for our prospects than our competition’s will. What can we do about this?”

Interesting question. Remember, the perception of your products and services are in the eyes of the customer. If they think you’re cheap, then you’re cheap. If they think you’re lousy, then you’re lousy. No amount of marketing or brochure blurb will influence that if it’s ingrained.

What should you do? Here’s a checklist to ensure your customers see your products as different in many ways.

1) Be absolutely honest and truthful about your products’ appeal to the marketplace. Are they really different, to everyone you meet? Or do they just offer value to specific customers with specific needs? You could have a niche product. But who does it appeal to?

If you really think your products are special, then…

2) Do you have a great story about your offerings that make the value and benefits come alive? If so, how do you prove it to the customer? Have you got testimonials and references of the results others have got? Specify what your product will do for this actual customer, based on what other similar companies have experienced.

3) Have you created enough opportunities with the decision-makers to prove how valuable your offer would be to their business? Remember, the decision-makers may not be the end-users, and they might not be able to perceive the real differences between yours and the competitive offerings.

4) Have you become so focused on price differentials that the real value of your products has been clouded over? You must be capable of really detailing the story of what your products will do, for THIS specific customer.

5) Think seriously about the results you’re promising from your products. Are they of real benefit to the customer? For instance, one photocopying supplier we worked with tried to sell the value of their machines by saying it saved three seconds of time in printing 100 copies over the prospect’s current machine. The prospect couldn’t see the real value in that. It simply didn’t justify the changes they would have had to go through in order to get our client on their supplier list. So, identify what is of real value to the prospect and help them see what it would do for them in terms that are valuable to them.

By being aware that customers will focus on price if there’s nothing else to differentiate you, you are able to determine what could be important enough to this specific customer to warrant you referring to them.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of cooldesign at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 20 March, 2014

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