How Can I Be Different From Every Other Sales Professional?

Q: My Company is fairly large and well regarded and I am an experienced sales professional. What can I do to differentiate myself from thousands of other sales professionals who do similar work?
(Sandra J., VP of Sales, Athens, GA)
A: Every professional faces the same issues of differentiation, regardless of firm size, discipline, products or services. Certainly your personal reputation from prior work and, often in a large firm, the reputation of your sales partners can make a big difference.

However, people shop on rationality and buy on emotion. In the minds of a buyer of professional services, particularly the more senior they are, there is a greater likelihood of identifying with you if you come across as a peer. This means exhibiting leadership characteristics. And it’s a proven fact that professionals who are also innovators grow more rapidly than those who have a tendency to “go with the flow.”

One of the best ways leaders relate is by having relational stories to tell. Stories, more than dry recitations of capabilities that are virtually indistinguishable from others, help you emotionally connect. Great leaders can tell three stories:

1. About themselves (what you stand for, where you came from)
2. About the organization they represent (you are promoting your firm as well as yourself)
3. About how they have made/can make people feel they are part of something bigger than themselves (this can be about past clients, community organizations or missions that you and your audience have in common)

Your stories won't get you in the door - only your capabilities, experience and value will. Create the stories that define you and your commitment to professional service and you are much more likely to connect. And connecting to somebody new is truly the key. Tell [your] story and make it happen from there.

As always, please accept my wishes for a tremendous week.

George F. Mancuso, CPC
Client Growth Consultants