All salespeople will tell you that selling a product to a customer can be a roller coaster of experiences and emotions. Closing a sale always gives a great sense of accomplishment. But there are often several hurdles you first need to overcome to get to that point. Having the right strategy in place for differentiating technical products and services from the competition is where you start.
Product Differentiation Strategy
Sometimes a big deal comes easily, and you feel like the luckiest person in the world. Other times, the completion of a sale seems within reach. Then at the last minute, your prospect decides to go with your competitor instead of you.
When selling technical products and services, the challenges seem even more daunting. With a longer sales cycle, more decision-makers to talk to, and big price tags involved, technical sales are complicated and complex. When you add in the inevitable factor of having competitors offer similar products and services at similar prices, it becomes evident that competing in today’s marketplace is not easy.
Many companies follow the same business models and use the same techniques to acquire customers and clients. To stand out, you need to differentiate yourself, and your product, from your competition. Although it can be challenging, there are a number of strategies you can do.
1. Unique Selling Proposition
What are you offering your client? Is it simply new machines for their factory? Or are you saving them time and money by providing them a more efficient system? In other words, what value are you providing that others can’t?
A value proposition is a benefit you’re offering the person buying from you. It is something they can’t get from anyone else. This depends on what you want to give your customer, and it is not just a feature of what you are offering. In the example above, the value proposition is the time and money your customer will save with the extra-efficient system you are offering them. It is not the list of features of the new machines that you can read in the manual.
You, as the technical sales engineer, can also be part of the value proposition. For example, your deep knowledge of the product and excellent after-sales service should be part of the value you offer that your competitors won’t be able to match.
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2. Price and Competitive Advantage
Competing on price can be tricky because it can turn your product into a commodity which diminishes what makes it different from the competition. However, if you have several similar competitors in terms of product and service offerings, the price can be one way to help distinguish your offer from others in the market.
If you can’t or don’t want to lower the price of your products, you can work on offering bulk discounts or better payment terms. See how flexible you can be in providing more extended payment plans or a more significant one-time discount. No matter how good your product or service is compared to others, the price will always be factored in the decision-making process.
3. Sell Benefits, not Features
Similar to offering a value proposition, you need to focus on selling the benefits. Don’t just focus on the features or advantages of the product you’re selling. Anyone can sell features. Help your customer see beyond the product and recognize the benefits the company will gain from working with you.
A benefit is more of an emotional connection with the customer. What will they get out of buying your product? What benefits will your customer get from your product? If your product helps speed up production, then time gained is one of the benefits. Differentiate yourself and your products by emphasizing the benefits your customer will reap from your product.
4. Provide Examples of Success Stories
Think of all your past customers. How did you help them solve a problem? Were they happy with your product? If yes, ask if they can give you a review. Use their company as a case study to show your prospective clients. Simple sales often use reviews and success stories, but they are just as important for technical sales. These are great ways to differentiate your product.
Showing these case studies give your customer a glimpse of what they can expect from your product. It allows you to differentiate yourself from your competition.
5. Highlight Your Company’s Trustworthiness
Similar to the point above, you need to showcase your company’s trustworthiness and reliability. Your customer will want to know that your products are high-quality and can be trusted. If your organization has certifications and awards, now is the time to showcase them. Examples of these are ISO-certified for quality or health and safety or a business that promotes sustainability. Any certification or award your company has received can help in building an organization’s trustworthiness.
Aside from company certifications, individuals within the organization who are specialists and certified in different fields will also encourage trust from the prospective client. For example, if your company employs several people who are Lean Six Sigma certified, those qualifications help build trust in your company’s processes.
Sales are About Relationship Building
Sales are more than just negotiating with a client and convincing them to buy from you. It’s all about growing and building relationships based on trust. Stand out and differentiate yourself from your competition by using the tips above while cultivating your relationships with your prospects. This combination is the key to start closing those sought-after deals.
With over 15 years of experience, we don’t just teach “theory.” We provide actionable lessons so you can see results tomorrow by providing you with all the tools you need to not only significantly increase your personal income but become a top performer at any company. If you are ready to take your technical sales career to the next level or are eager to make a career change, then click here to take the next step towards success with Technical Sales University.