For the last week, I haven’t been able to let go of an idea. The idea is too big and too important. I spent hours yesterday developing a slide deck to better explain this idea so I can share it during keynotes and workshops.
You can know something intellectually, and not really know it. I’ve said it before, but I haven’t said it enough, and I haven’t given enough context to make the idea deliver the results it should.
You are the biggest part of the value proposition.
That’s it. Here’s what I recognize and why this idea has consumed me.
Some salespeople want their product to do all the work of selling for them. They want the product to be different from competitive offerings in a way that compels people to buy. These are product-reliant salespeople, which you can read as “not very good” salespeople. When the features and benefits can’t win on their own, when product doesn’t do it, these salespeople lose.
I have a friend who sells cardboard boxes. Seriously. He sells cardboard.
Other salespeople want the experience to do the heavy lifting. They want to be able to point to the support, the services, all the ancillary stuff their company does to win deals. They rely on their internal processes to win business. In most B2B plays, this stuff is either table stakes, or it’s not different enough to make a difference for the client.
You are expected to be easy to do business with.
Enter now the solution sellers. They believe that the solution they put together is better than their competitors, that it solves problems in a better way. A lot of times, they’ll say their people differentiate them from their competition, as if they somehow have exclusive access to all the smart people. Then they’ll have a subject matter expert accompany them on sales calls to answer questions.
You can create better outcomes for your clients. But so can your competitors.
What are we left with here? How do you compete when all things are equal? The answer: You make them unequal. The word to focus on the preceding sentence here is “you.”
If you are the biggest part of the value proposition, then how you engage with your prospective clients and sell becomes the variable. Your ability to create a preference for you is the key to creating a preference for your company and your solution. You are what is going to make things unequal . . . or same same.
My first book, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need speaks to the idea that this is the direction sales is going. It speaks first to who you have to be, and then what you have to do. It’s important to get these in the right order. The last four chapters of that book speak to business acumen, managing change, leadership, and differentiating yourself from your peers. I am more convinced than ever that this was the right book to publish first. My second book, The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the Ten Commitments That Drive Sales, builds on both the “who you have to be” and the “what you have to do.”
Who do you have to be to be the person your dream client prefers above all others?
What do you have to do to prove that and create a preference for you that extends to your company and your solution?
Comment to send me your thoughts, ideas, and stories. Hit forward to send this newsletter to someone you know who could use a little focus on becoming the person their clients need. Ask them to join us here each Sunday by signing up at www.thesalesblog.com/newsletter.
Do good work this week, and I’ll see you back here next Sunday!
P.S. If you haven’t yet registered for OutBound Conference Atlanta on April 13th, please go and register now. We are almost out of VIP tickets, and the regular tickets are going fast. If you are a sales leader, send your team, and hold them over for the next day’s training. Go here to register, and use the code iannarino199 for a discount on a regular ticket. You get me, Jeb Blount, Mark Hunter, Mike Weinberg, and our special guest, Laura Madison.