Archives for November 2011

Your Competitor or Your Competition: What’s The Difference?

For years since you began your sales career you have been encouraged to know who your competitors are. Fair enough. I am glad my early mentors had my best interest in mind and drove the point home that I had to know my product offering and my competitors in order to sell effectively. They were right!

How about you? This is what this is all about – your success.

Is there a difference between your competitor and your competition? My handy dictionary states that both are rivals. Some feel that competitor is single and competition is plural. In short a true competitor, your true competitor has your number. They match your skill set. They match your organization’s product offering. In fact, your customer or prospect can not tell the true difference. The only deciding factor is you!

As you research your ideal clients accomplishments and key events, take just as much time to study your true competitor whether they are the incumbent or your arch rival competing for the same dollar and market share that you are. You know who they are. You pass them in the lobby of your ideal prospect, you see them at the trade shows, and may even be on the same 6:00 a.m. flight.

As you prepare for your initial contact with your ideal client, or are progressing through the buying cycle ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are the needs of my ideal client?
  2. Who is the incumbent? Who is also competing for this opportunity as well?
  3. Where are the gaps in their offering?
  4. How can I leverage my strengths to capitalize on their weakness(s)?

So, is there a difference between your competitor and your competition? You bet there is and the following example shared many years ago holds true today.

If you get up and go to work everyday, you will outsell 50% of your competition. If you know your product, you will outsell 75% of your competition. If you know your product and the competitors product, you will outsell 90% of your competition. The last 10% is a match of both will and skill. They want it just as bad as you do. They will work just as hard, prepare just as hard and leverage every resource available. This person or organization is your true competitor and that is the difference!

To your success,


Creating Your Personal Brand: Becoming a First among Equals

How is your brand?

Not your company’s brand but your personal brand?

Here is why I ask. It’s about you!

I am spending the day working with a very sharp sales rep in Orlando, FL. We just completed a 9:00 a.m. appointment that came through a referral from a satisfied customer (nice job in leveraging your existing customer Dan). Entering the lobby and checking with the receptionist she contacted Dan’s prospect to let him know that we had arrived and immediately, we were offered a fresh cup of coffee or bottled water – first class. A few minutes later, the executive’s assistant greets us warmly and we are escorted to the corner office overlooking downtown Orlando.

After we are seated and a short exchange of pleasantries (which are critical in connecting on the front end – no brainer right?) bam! We are hit with an unsettling comment…

‘You know the reason that I am seeing you is really as a favor to my friend (Dan’s customer). In my opinion I see ‘parity’ with the majority of the reps in your industry – see one you have seen them all….Pause from the prospect… that said what makes you different?’

This was clearly a moment of testing and a moment of truth. Note he did not ask ‘what makes your company different?’ Or ‘how is your product offering different?’ Instead he asked ‘what makes you different?’

Par-i-ty: the quality or state of being equal or equivalent

I would love to say what happened next was amazing, it was but not for Dan! The reason is simple: he has built a solid personal brand around creating solutions for his customers. What was amazing was the confident response that built immediate credibility with his prospect.  After Dan had a few moments to explain how he could create a viable solution for the executive, you could see and feel the tone of the conversation change thus changing the meeting dramatically, in fact the executive suggested and scheduled a meeting for Dan to present a solution to his senior staff.

You may be thinking… How did this happen? How can I create the same outcome? Simple…. It is about creating your own personal brand and presenting in a style that is unique to you.

Today at lunch, or this evening when it is quiet, ask yourself the following as you begin to establish your personal brand and become First Among Equals!

  1. What has made you a success thus far?
  2. How did you get there?
  3. How would you like to be perceived?
  4. What ignites your passion?
  5. Go do it!

Align your personal brand with the needs of your prospects and customers, and you will experience a level of success unlike you have experienced in your selling career. Once you have done so, send me your story as I would like to share it with others to offer inspiration and encouragement.

It is about you – creating your personal brand and becoming a First Among Equals.