• Alan Prowse

How do we differentiate ourselves in a “me too” product, system, or service competition?

In my humble opinion, there are things you can do in business development to differentiate you from your competition, that require absolutely zero talent. Having seen studies that say over fifty percent of customer loyalty is driven by the clients purchasing experience, let me share with you what I think is in your control that can impact the outcome.

Let’s start with your work ethic. Little things like, always being at least five minutes early for every client engagement, always being fully prepared and bring unique, valuable perspectives to your client. Providing them timely and complete follow up on actions and making the buying process as easy as possible for them, can go a long way.

Also, under the umbrella of your work ethic, is to ensure you fully understand the buying process and who is going to be the decision makers. I always tried to get in front of all the decision makers, if possible, to ensure they knew, who they were buying from and our unique value proposition. If I couldn’t get in front of them personally, I at least made sure my coach or mobilizer inside the company did this for me.

As an example of how your work ethic can differentiate you from the competition: I remember meeting with one of my regular points of contact, that was part of a source selection committee for a future purchase and asked him to introduce me to one of his peers. I knew his peer was also part of the source selection committee, she was new in her role, and I hadn’t had an opportunity to meet with her. He literally walked me down the corridor and made the introduction and this gave me about five minutes to go over my elevator speech before she had to run to meeting. Long story short, we won the project, and I went back to thank them both for selecting us for this business. Out if interest, I asked this new contact if she could share which way she voted and why. She said, “for you of course, I haven’t seen any of the other vendors” and then she played back our value proposition to me that was part of my elevator speech…. So, one five-minute interaction was worth one vote on the source selection committee.

So, make sure you keep up your work ethic, differentiate yourself by out working your competition and most importantly, nothing I have talked about here requires any special talents!

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