Strategic Human Capital Insights

Differentiation: The Make or Break Sales Skill

3 Steps to Matching & Positioning Product for Maximum Impact

Happy Young Professional Couple Shaking Hands with a Real Estate Agent After Some Business Discussions Inside the Office.We hope you've enjoyed our Sales and Business Development blog series so far. In case you missed the other two blogs, you can view them hereThis blog is the third in our series, and will help you understand the importance of client differentiation.

  1. It’s All About the Client  

When a client has a problem, issue or ‘hook’ requiring a solution, they look for one thing: simplicity. They are looking to "break-down" an existing problem and seek a solution that will satisfy their needs and take their business forward. Your job is to understand the specific business issues and then provide a solution that will address their issues in very concrete, tangible ways.  Here is where you will need two key things:

  1. A complete understanding of the client, the business and their aspirations for the future and blockers that will get in the way and hinder future growth
  2. A thorough and detailed understanding of your product / solution and how to position that product appropriately so it presents a business answer to client growth

Sales also needs to remember that not all levels of the product / solution behave the same way in the marketplace, with individual clients as a whole and with individual members of the client buying center. 

Each client has their specific view(s) of their business.  Listening to how a client views their world and how they prioritize their issues is critically important.  The client is providing the roadmap.  Sales must follow the client lead.

  1. Matching and Positioning your Product as a Client Solution

After sales has a thorough and tangible understanding of the client and their business issues, only then will sales be able to MATCH and POSITION their product / solution appropriately. With that understanding of the client, sales can now provide solutions both competitively and with great positive impact. This is the alignment and matching process leading to differentiation.

No two client conversations should sound the same since every client is different.  Sales must pick up on those client nuances. Your aim is to listen, understand and have better client information than your competition. You will then be able to position your product / solution with maximum impact. 

  1. The Sound of the Skill of Differentiating

The Sales Matching / Positioning Test

At this stage, you are in position to convert the conversation about your product into how that product / feature will solve and address client needs.  As simple as this sounds, this is where both skill and mental agility are absolutely essential.  This is often where the sale is either won or lost. 

Throughout this process, your aim is to move the conversation from you and your product to the client and their issues. You must be able to frame your conversation completely into the client’s world.  It’s all about them, not about you. 

Screen_Shot_2015-08-10_at_9.38.58_AMNote that very little of this conversation has to do with you.  A majority of the language, in blue, must be about them and what they have said are their issues. 

If you remember that this is all about the client, and that your product / service is simply a solution to their issues, you will have moved into the coveted space called ‘advisory selling’. 

To better understand how we approach this critical sales skill, I invite you to learn more about our Sales & Business Development program as part of the Phoenix Strategic Performance Institute. This program helps you to strategically align your sales process to accelerate the relationship sales process, creating corporate growth and building strategic value.

Explore the Sales & Business Development Program

Topics: Business Development

Posted by Joanne Flynn

Joanne Flynn

Joanne T. Flynn heads up the human capital advisory group, Phoenix Strategic Performance, Inc. Previously, she was a Managing Director with Phoenix Group International and was Vice President / Director of Global Learning and Development at Goldman, Sachs for nine years. Joanne works with organizations as they face global growth and competitive challenges. She works with her clients to be both externally focused and internally responsive. With her unique background, she aligns competitive strategic efforts with related internal organizational leadership challenges. With the benefit of her career-long focus, Joanne contributes the unique insight of aligning strategy to internal organizational structure and process. She focuses on human capital relative to strategic initiatives, accelerated business growth, value creation, and business development. Joanne holds a Master of Arts degree in Business Management from the University of Oklahoma. In addition, she holds a double degree major in History and German from St. Elizabeth University, as well as certificates from a variety of leading universities and professional training and development organizations. Joanne has recently published her latest book, Accelerating Business Success, The Human Asset Management Strategy.

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