How to use Product Differentiation to Increase Sales
Product Differentiation Strategy
Winning new business can be difficult and frustrating as Buyers are more educated and better informed than ever before. Additionally finding points of differentiation that will justify higher pricing can be crucial, as Buyers compare feature/function and benefits. To compete head to head with your competition is difficult for most sales people, and in most cases drives down pricing, which ultimately limits business growth. So if you are struggling to prove your “widget” is better than your competitions, unless you have a really high sales conversion ratio – then STOP. As Einstein said, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.’ There is however a very simple product differentiation strategy that won’t work every time but can make all the difference in certain opportunities to differentiate your service/solution and justify a premium price in the market.
Move the Buyers Goal Posts
When Buyers have established their “widget” purchasing criteria, savvy Sales Professionals use Consultative Selling skills to help Buyers identify improvements and or flaws in the original criteria. Furthermore, advanced questioning strategies then guide the Buyers to develop new criteria that only the Savvy Sales Professional “widget” can fulfill. By changing the original purchasing criteria the Sales Professionals have in effect moved the buying goal posts and eliminated the competition. Whilst this differentiation strategy works what you might also consider is rather than relying solely on your sales people to differentiate your widgets, you brand and position your widgets differently so from the outset of the buyers journey when they visit your website you are conveying points of difference.
What this doesn’t mean is that you have to stop selling widgets, what it does mean is that the way you present the widgets for sale may need to be adapted. It may mean you help the Buyer understand they shouldn’t buy the widgets, but lease them, or have coloured widgets, monster widgets or the new “Widget App”. In some cases it might be best not to even mention your widgets, for example, when the Buyer is completely satisfied with his existing widget supplier, offering your widgets forces a binary Yes/No decision that you are unlikely to win. Instead leading with product/service that compliments your competitions widget will remove the Buyers’ perception that you are a competitor to their chosen supplier. Once you have successfully placed your complimentary product, and have a track record of successful delivery you can then look to expand, and ask to be considered as the back-up widget supplier. With the passing of time, the building of relationships, trust and rapport, you can slowly but surely take over the account.
This product differentiation strategy works especially well when there are dominant players in any market that may have the financial muscle to out-market and out-price you. Taking these players on head to head would in some cases be business suicide, so DON’T. Instead find a way of branding, positioning and presenting your product or service differently, so even they don’t see you as competition let alone your customers. This strategy is not about creating a niche market or micro niche that might limit your total available market, instead it can create new markets with little or no competition. Most importantly from a long term perspective the more you can make your products and services different, the harder it becomes to be replaced. This then makes recurring revenues and repeat business much easier down the line.
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