3 Steps to Ensure Your Unique Value is Understood and Heard
What makes you different?
Every day sales people are asked, "What makes you different?"
“We are experienced! We have great people! We deliver great customer service! We are local!”
This, or something like this, is almost always the response we get when we ask this question at the beginning of our sales effectiveness engagements. And, yes, they say it with the exclamation points.
What do you think the receiver of this message is thinking?
A.)“Oh, thank goodness, finally something unique and valuable to me.” or
B.) "Yeah, yeah, yeah, everyone SAYS that, I’m done listening. You are just wasting my time.”
And yet we wonder why we are being commoditized or why are there is so much pressure on our margins.
If you’re the top executive, you are likely crystal clear on how you stand out from your competition. It is also possible that your senior leadership team is easily able to articulate the reasons that your company is better than all the others in your space. But, it’s highly probable that most everyone else in the organization, including those that are supposed to be communicating this every day to your clients, cannot answer the question “what makes you different?” in an effective way and one that mirrors what you would say.
Oh, and this is still the case even if you’ve already spent time and money defining your value propositions and building your website and marketing materials to match. I am sorry to say that, but we’ve seen it over and over again.
So how can you ensure that your teams communicate the meaningful difference that your company delivers?
Here are 3 steps to ensure your unique value is understood and heard:
1. Understand with the strategic vision or company north star
The CEO and Sr. Leadership team understand the strategic vision. They know who they want to be and where they will spend the money to ensure that happens. They have a north star that the company is moving toward. The sales team must be crystal clear on what that is and why, and more importantly, how it will deliver value to customers.
For example, if the company strategy is speed of response or delivery and that is where they are going to spend the money to ensure that happens, then the sales team should communicate why and how the company processes ensure that speed and how that speed will make the experience more meaningful to the client.
Conversely, if the strategy is to be highly customer intimate and customize solutions for clients, the meaningful differentiation might be your team of experts and the specific training and knowledge they bring to the table that ensure the customer’s need for information and innovation is met in a differentiating way.
2. Create the bullet points, phrases and facts that support your differences
We recommend and teach a three-part formula of Captivate, Differentiate and Validate to arm your teams with the framework for telling your story in a way that matters to your clients. It looks like this:
Captivate: The “hook”… What will you do for your clients if they choose you?
Differentiate: Why are you and your organization different and better?
Validate: Prove it!!! Words are just that, words. Back it up with facts!
Working the messages through this 3-part formula helps prevent your teams from defaulting to the lowest price strategy.
3. Practice, Practice, Practice. Deliberately Practice.
If you are a Sr. Leader and you feel that you have effectively checked off step 1 and 2, please don’t assume that your teams are skilled at communicating your differences in real-life scenarios. I would encourage you to pick up the phone or drop by the desks and ask various sales and client-facing associates in your organization to tell you what makes you different as though you were a prospect. You might be surprised at how long it takes for them to get there – if they can get there at all. You can let anger or depression set in, or you can take action. Training and practice are required for success in everything, and this is no exception. Implement a leadership led process for practicing communication of the value you bring. Put them through the “so what?” test. Script customer and prospect scenarios and practice it with a defined cadence. Once is never enough.
If you want to improve results and see consistent growth, your teams must be able to differentiate you from the competition. The teams that can communicate the most value win.
Related Blog: Things Successful People are Obsessive About
We can help you win. Butler Street’s sales effectiveness has a foundation in understanding and communicating value. If you feel are being commoditized, the time is now to act. No change will deliver no change. Contact us if you’re ready for a change.