Differentiate VS USP

Differentiate is different from USP (unique selling proposition.)

Mostly I interview top performers who have been in the field, and trenches of sales. Also, they have been in the marketing arena of sales, and marketing specifically.

Certainly, I have one of those on this blog today. This is a “been there, done that, doing that” kind of guy. With lots of accolades out there and a strong resume.

Lee Salz is a Leading Sales Management Strategist, CEO of Sales Architects and recognized expert in sales differentiation. He works with senior executives and business owners across all industries helping their salespeople win more deals at prices they want. A frequently sought-after keynote speaker and consultant on sales differentiation, feature columnist in the Business Journals and a media source on sales and sales management.

He has been quoted and featured in the:

  • Wall Street Journal
  • CNN
  • New York Times
  • ABC News and;

numerous other outlets.

Lee created the Revenue Accelerator and his latest best seller Sales Differentiation

Watch this interview on how to differentiate your business and stand out from your competition…

Creating Value Proposition

Why do we think buyers think any differently about us when we march in, and approach them saying, “My company, my products, my services are the best?”

Truth is they don’t!

When we come in preaching that we are the best, we think that we are endearing ourselves to others when we are actually turning people off…period!

First of all, there’s no question about it. When you posture yourself that way, people are immediately turned off.  They simply don’t relate to it. Every interaction we have between a seller and a buyer gives us the opportunities to be different, to provide a meaningful value proposition that our competitors are NOT doing.

Always look for opportunities to improve the customer experience. One of the biggest reasons sales fail is not price. It’s fear of change. The transition process is another opportunity to be different. When you help a buyer feel comfortable and confident, they are going to have an outstanding experience.

Start by creating a genuine connection with people through your business – it’s essential throughout the whole process of running your business. And of course, the more authentic, the better your relationship is.  But it’s always crucial to create a relationship before you start asking a customer for things in return.

What is Sales Differentiation?

The name itself is huge.

So, Sales Differentiation is a philosophy of your number one, and biggest differentiator, as compared to your competition.

Salespeople get so frustrated all the time when every deal comes down to a price war.

Consequently, this is because most salespeople think the differentiator is price. They don’t have or understand what the differentiator is that sets them apart from their competition.

I have a degree in marketing, and I learned very early on in marketing that there is this thing called USP (unique selling proposition.)

There is a lot of similarity between a sales differentiator and unique selling proposition. But they are not the same thing.

One side of sales is differentiation. The other side of sales differentiation is in how you sell. Every interaction between a salesperson and a buyer provides opportunities to be different, to provide a meaningful value proposition that the competition does not. So there is a sales differentiation strategy in what you sell and in how you sell.

Lee says “when a salesperson is looking for something unique, they are looking for something that’s a needle in the haystack.” Very few companies have something that meets their definition of unique where it’s only one that exists anywhere. And if you look up the word ‘unique’ and different in Webster, you will find they are not synonyms.

Unique means it’s the only one of it’s kind. That’s pretty much what a patent is, and most of us aren’t lucky enough to be selling something that’s patented.

But different is relative to something else, relative to alternatives. Every company is different. And when you look at every aspect that they have in that organization in both what and how they sell, they have opportunities to communicate a message that their competition does not.

There are 2 types of differentiations

Look at these 2 differentiations:

  1. marketing differentiation and;
  2. sales differentiation and

they are related but they are also different.

Marketing differentiation is one directional communication for the masses. It screams, “Hey, look at us! We are here!” That’s what a website, tradeshow, and marketing material does. It speaks to all the potential of what could be.

But Sales differentiation takes that potential, all of the capabilities that are out there, and narrows it down to a specific solution for you. Every single person buys for a different reason. So we need to take those capabilities and have a two directional communication which is what Sales Differentiation is about. Two directional communication with an individual specific buyer will take all these capabilities and narrow it down to the right solution for you.

See, the word ‘solution’ is often used very loosely. We say we sell solutions and you can’t sell solutions. A solution is a function of understanding what someone’s needs, wants, desires, objectives are and the capabilities you bring to bear and pulling all that together to figure out what that solution is.

In short, Marketing differentiation is more a big picture potential, building brand awareness. Sales differentiation is making the whole experience personal. In other words, it’s taking all of the capabilities, and slicing the ones that are completely irrelevant out. Figure out the ones that are relevant based on your needs, wants, desires, and objectives.

Take an Assessment

I really resonate with the word ‘assessment’ in the sales process. I mean the difference between marketing and sales, is in sales you make it about the person you’re selling to, not about you. You make it about what their needs are, and there is always a need for an assessment in order to figure out what those needs are.

And if you’re good at assessing, that’s a great relationship-building quality to have. Let’s talk about relationship marketing in general. In my book, The Power of Human Connection, I talk a lot about the importance of genuine relationship through the process of selling.

What’s the difference between having a genuine relationship and a relationship just to create a sale?

Basically, you genuinely either care, or you don’t.

I mean we’ve all been in the buying chair, all of us have sat in the buying chair. We are all busy especially in business to business sales. Just put yourself in the buyer’s seat. It’s all you got to do as a salesperson, put yourself in the buyer’s seat because we’ve all been in the buyer’s seat.

How would you want to be treated as a buyer?

Look, in the history of business, there has never been an executive whose sole responsibility has been to meet with salespeople. It has never happened. We’re an interruption, that’s it! We are an interruption to their day.

Every salesperson is calling the same person you are trying to meet with. See, we’re egocentric when we think about competition. We think about just the players in our space. But you’re calling executives, CFO’s, a president or a business owner, and they have this broad purview of responsibility. They are receiving calls from salespeople representing all of that and more. All of them want one thing, face-time. And I don’t mean the Apple technology. I mean having an in-person meeting.

However, since nobody has this job to meet with salespeople every hour on the hour, they’re only going to meet with a select few salespeople. These salespeople are the ones that can create intrigue and differentiate in that initial outreach.

In today’s day and age, there are all kinds of technology that we use in the prospecting process, in the whole sales process.  Take CRM’s for example. CRM’s play a vital role in today’s world of sales.

One thing I’ve noticed in the buyer’s chair… I always know when I’m being prospected by someone that’s in their CRM. I can always tell I’m in their CRM drip system. And anybody in sales knows when they’re in the buyer’s chair.

I guess the true question is “Why do I want to hear from them?”


Lee Salz gives us this example:

“OK. Let’s pretend we sell technology that helps to reduce costs and improve efficiency in manufacturing. And we see this article in the Business Journal, and it’s an interview with the CEO of ABC Manufacturing talking about an initiative for the upcoming year to reduce cost and improve efficiency.

I’ll give you two scenarios.

Salesperson #1 calls the head of manufacturing and says, “Hey, I see you’re the head of manufacturing. I’m guessing you’re trying to reduce cost and improve efficiency. Well, that’s something that our company works with folks like you to do.”

Salesperson #2 calls up and says, “I was just reading an interview with your CEO where he talked about an initiative for the upcoming year to reduce cost and improve efficiency. And given that you’re the head of manufacturing, I’m guessing those responsibilities are being passed along to you. And that’s something we work with manufacturing leaders to address.”

Which of those two salespeople is more likely to get the meeting?”

Well, the second one for sure!

Here’s the big question. Which one had the better product?

The answer is it didn’t matter, it’s all about differentiating how you sell.

One of the things that – and I’m going to go back to my scenario of what I call the CRM drip. The CRM drip is interesting because everybody seems to be doing it. And the interesting thing about it is “I’m not going to respond to this person. I’m going to respond to somebody that I already know that does this. Someone that I can get a reference from because I don’t know this person, and I don’t want to waste my time with that.

So the point is the importance of creating relationships with people, to the point of where they are referring you to people that might want your product and service. Because then for sure I’m going to take the appointment from someone that I got referred to.

Prospect without your hand out

There are so many ways to create relationships without your hand out. I mean you show that you have a genuine interest in the human being, not the person with the checkbook.

Simply learn about the prospect and gain an interest in them as a human being, not a person with a checkbook. And whether you like it or not folks, that’s the world we live in today. You have to differentiate yourself that way; otherwise, you’re going to get left in the dust because the old traditional sales approach just doesn’t really work today.

In closing, as far as sales efforts and differentiating yourself in the marketplace “it’s how you sell not just what you sell differentiates you.” Lee Salz

p.s. I’m on Audible right now picking up Lee’s newest book, Sales Differentiation. Make sure you get on Amazon or wherever to pick that up and receive a BONUS of Lee’s Sales Differentiation Minute Video Series for free on SalesDifferentiation.com.