Align Your Differentiation to Your Prospect's Needs
Deals are won and lost in discovery. Your ability to find a business problem that you can attach your solution to is a critical component to advancing the sale. It's critical that you uncover buyer needs, and at the same time, align your differentiation to those needs. Think about why people choose your solution and how you can get those points into every buyer's decision criteria.
Improve your ability to align your solution’s differentiation to the positive business outcomes (PBOs) your buyers are trying to achieve in a way that’s meaningful to your buyer, and impactful for your bottom line. Here are a few actions steps:
1. Have a Solid Grasp on Your Solution’s Business Value and Differentiators
If your message isn’t connected to your customer needs, even your strongest product feature won’t win you the deal. Having a solid grasp on how your products, services and company are different and better than the competition creates the opportunity for you to show value to your buyer. To ultimately get a prospect to care about your solution’s differentiation and close at a premium, you need to understand how your solutions solve your buyer’s problems in a way that’s different or better than the competition. Without this understanding, it’s incredibly difficult to align your differentiation to your buyer’s biggest business problems.
Put yourself in the shoes of your buyer. Consider these questions to fully understand your solution’s business value and differentiation:
- What problems do you solve for your customers?
- How do you specifically solve those problems?
- How do you do it differently than your competition?
- What’s your proof?
2. Improve Your Ability to Uncover Big Business Problems:
There is no value or differentiation without a customer problem. If you want to sell on value, you have to ask questions that prompt prospects to verbalize their pain, in a way that gives you an opportunity to articulate the value of your solution.
Sellers who excel at helping their prospects articulate their needs automatically have better knowledge about them. When prospective customers hear themselves admit their problems and the impact those problems are having on their business, it creates buying momentum and gives you leverage to articulate your differentiation. Here are resources you can use to improve your discovery skills.
3. Stay Focused on Your Buyer’s Business Needs
Once you understand the biggest business problem facing your customer, keep your conversations focused on that problem and how it impacts their business and eventually how your solution can alleviate those challenges. Just rattling off features and functions that aren’t relevant to buyer problems will lead them to see your solution as expensive, and you’ll be forced to lower your price, or you may even lose the opportunity altogether.
Focus on the prospect's end goal — the positive business outcomes they're trying to achieve., Help them define what they need in a solution to get from their current state to their desired outcomes. As you help your buyer uncover what’s required in a solution to achieve their PBOs, then you can work on instilling your differentiation into their buying criteria. The most elite salespeople leverage this gap by guiding their buyers in defining their own decision criteria, and in doing so, they fill in those gaps with their differentiators ...
4. Stack Buyer Decision Criteria in Your Favor
Speak about your technical features and functions in a way that helps your customer form a link between the differentiation you offer and the value your customer admitted was important (their PBOs). As you help your buyers define their own decision criteria, find ways to influence it and stack those capabilities in your favor. Remember, people rarely argue with their own conclusions. Your goal is to get your prospects to persuade themselves that your company is their best option for achieving their positive business outcomes.
Sellers who can successfully help buyers stack this decision criteria in their favor can repeatedly get their buyers to anchor on required capabilities in a way that competitors simply can’t measure up to. Having buyers rank buying criteria in your favor is key to winning against tough competition, do-it-internally decisions, and even against competitors that may have capabilities that your solution doesn’t offer.
5. Know How and When to Leverage Your Testimonials
When you say your solution fits their required capabilities and will enable them to achieve a PBO — don’t make your customer “take your word for it”. Give them third-party references that show your differentiation in action and tell a story that’s meaningful to your buyer’s desired outcomes.
Proof points carry a lot of weight and can make your job easier when used effectively and at the right time. To be effective with your proof points, memorize them. Familiarising yourself with your company’s case studies enables you to ensure you always have a relevant proof point in mind for each different customer you're speaking with. Additionally, to have the biggest impact on aligning your differentiation to your buyer, it’s important to understand when to incorporate a proof point into your conversations. Here are some examples.
Be Audible-Ready to Align Your Differentiation to Buyer Needs
We talk about differentiation often on the Audible-Ready Sales Podcast. Here’s an episode on “Differentiating How You Sell” that would be a good follow-up to this article. To never miss a future episode, subscribe on your preferred streaming platform. We publish new episodes weekly on sales best practices and timely tactics to incorporate into live opportunities.