This past spring, Mezzanine hosted a “marketing speed dating” session, where leaders and marketers from B2B organizations had 15 minutes to pick the brains of one of our marketing experts. We were asked lots of great questions, some of which I’ve covered in past posts. But one of the more popular queries was this:
“If I’m selling the same stuff as other companies, how do I stand out?”
Great question. And the short answer is – it’s not about your product. It’s how you sell it. There are two ways to go about selling better:
1. Change something. Anything but your product.
When I first started consulting, I worked with a car dealership. The owner had been in the biz for 30 years – and his was the most successful dealership in the area, despite the fact that he sold the same cars as everyone else. So how did he make people buy those cars from him? He made the sales process friendlier, easier and more fun. Customers came to him because he offered the best EXPERIENCE. The car? They could get that anywhere, possibly even for a lower price.
He couldn’t change the cars he sold, but he could change the way he sold them. And that’s the answer for a lot of businesses selling a standard product. You can tweak your service, your pricing structure, focus on leasing versus selling, offer bundling, or differentiate with things like warranties, guarantees or servicing arrangements. It can be anything. Add value, and you’ll win business.
2. Build a brand
Building a recognized brand is the best way to win long-term market share. Think of it this way: more people will buy a Chiquita banana because it’s “got brand” and is something that’s familiar – not because it’s a better banana. But getting to that point takes money, effort, and a significant time commitment.
If you’re thinking of going this route, ask yourself a few questions first:
- Are we going to stick with it?
- Do we have the dollars to accomplish it?
- Are we willing to wait the two to three years it will take to achieve?
Neither approach is easy. Option 1 may be a bit more straightforward, but coming up with a differentiated business model definitely has its challenges. Option 2 takes longer, but gives you top-of-mind recognition that’s invaluable. Think carefully about what will work best for you.
Want more ideas on differentiating your business? The Radical Sales Shift is full of great strategies from expert B2B marketers. Download your copy today: