Saturday, February 28, 2009

Q. How do I differentiate myself from other salespeople?

A. In today’s ultra competitive market you can easily differentiate yourself from other salespeople by treating customers like doctors treat patients. Ask intelligent questions so you can diagnose the situation and choose an appropriate product or service that will make your customers better.

Most of the competitors you face are product pushers. They don’t care about what is best for the customer. All they know is they need to make sales and so they impress themselves and bore their customers with endless memorized features and benefit statements that may or may not be important to the customer. If they were doctors, they would be quacks.

So do me a favor. For your next sales call, write down a list of questions. Take your time and craft questions that will uncover what you need to know and understand about your customer’s situation. Here are a few examples of questions I use, just to get you going:

What are the most important issues facing your business today?

Do you have any new initiatives or goals for the next quarter?

What areas of the business are giving you the greatest challenges?

What are the three most important factors you weigh to select a new?

Why did you choose to work with (fill in the blank)?

If you could improve one thing about your current vendor, what would it be?

When you prepare your own list, make sure you ask open-ended questions like who, what, where and why. This will give you access to the feelings, likes, dislikes, wants, needs and motivators that will help you match your customer with the perfect product and service solutions.

By taking the time to care enough, prepare enough, listen enough and ask the right questions you will receive the trust, respect and new business you deserve.

Mike Sperduti is CEO/managing partner of Emerge Sales. Reach him at