What is your differentiator? Simply, your differentiator is what makes you stand out from a crowd or differentiates you from all other people fighting for the same thing – whether that’s a big client, a competition, or even at a concert to go sing on stage. They key is not to make your differentiator the same as someone else’s, which can be the tricky part as you won’t always know what it is.
Focusing in on business, in the customer’s mind, most salespeople are basically the same person, with slightly different packaging. That can come across in your dress, your attitude, or even in your education. However, while important, these things aren’t always memorable enough to make you really stand out in a good way. Try not to have one differentiator, but a few.
Differentiators stand out and are memorable, which gives you the upper hand over your competitors all doing/saying the same things as everyone else.
You can differentiate on price, quality, response time, and selection, but many times, the differentiator is the salesperson. Differentiation can take a concept that is currently used and flip it in a completely new way. Differentiation can be something subtle that is commented on because: “no one else does it that way.” Think about the things you do that you know everyone else does – chances are, they are that “good idea” from a movie or you learned in a college class.
When you take something you do within your company that is a bit “different” and adjust it slightly, that simple adjustment might just be exactly what the client ordered and you win the sale over a competitor.
As humans, we all have the same inherent wants and needs, but specific priorities are different for everyone. We all want to feel connected, and sometimes that causes some to blend into the crowd and say and do what everyone else is doing. That’s a way to survive, but is it the way to thrive?
The way to differentiate is to do the things other people are not willing to do to stand out from the crowd. It isn’t comfortable or convenient at times, but it is the only way to get noticed. Your differentiator could be a phrase you use, a nickname, a unique gift, a different way of adding value, or an experience you create for a specific industry. There is no “one-size-fits-all” method, because if everyone can read it and know about it, it’s not a differentiator anymore.
Rolf’s Glass creates beautiful etched glasses. They were looking to differentiate themselves from other glassware makers, so they hired a new marketing director. The new marketing director’s first idea for a new line of glassware was to differentiate it from everything else the company was doing. The design had several rows of fish all swimming the same direction. She asked the designers to change one fish in a design so that one was swimming in the opposite direction from all of the other fish. The change was made and when the product went to market, it was tremendously successful and began outselling some of their other lines.
The marketing director decided to make a bold move and differentiate herself and that represented her unique personality, someone who “swam against the current.” The product line was remarkably successful; time and again, people want something just slightly different that stands out from the crowd.
Can you do something like that in your own business?
Differentiators don’t need to be revolutionary and can be something you did once and for which you received positive comments. If you want to go bolder, you can, but it isn’t always necessary. The following are a few examples:
- Send a thoughtful handwritten thank you note to people you meet each week.
- Email a Monday morning memo to your clients of market updates to begin their weeks.
- Email a Friday joke that lightens the mood and gets everyone ready for the weekend.
I invite you to view the all my videos in the Growing Sales series. I show you how to save time with actionable steps, increase profitability, get qualified referrals, and more.
I post my top sales tips to my Growing Sales blog. Visit to learn how to increase sales, talk to prospects with a compelling message and more. Feel free to share my blog with your sales team. Perhaps they’ll try my suggestions and everyone gets to benefit.
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