YOU Are The Competitive Advantage!Oct 23, 2023
You have a competitive advantage. The question becomes...
Do you know what it is?
Allow this quote to percolate a bit by Michael Porter,
"Competitive strategy is about being different. It means deliberately choosing a different set of activities to deliver a unique mix of value."
Think about how you're carrying and positioning yourself in the marketplace, now answer the following questions...
- What makes you different?
- What inspirational and memorable experiences are you bringing?
- What meaningful value are bringing?
So, do I have you thinking?
According to Wikipedia, competitive advantage is defined as,
"The attribute that allows an organization to outperform its competitors."
Let's take this a bit deeper...
What are the attributes that allow you to outperform your competition?
I believe, to find a long-lasting competitive advantage, you must look for something your competitors cannot easily replicate or imitate.
Again, I must ask...
What's your competitive advantage?
Let's face it, there will always be someone better than you. This applies to your personal and professional life.
There will always be someone who will outsell you.
There will always be someone who will be more successful than you.
There will always be someone with more skillset than you.
What are the attributes that allow you to outperform your competition?
You see, to find a lasting competitive advantage, look for something your competitors cannot easily replicate or imitate.
My friends you are not duplicatable. You are the competitive advantage.
Jack Welch said it best,
"If you don't have a competitive advantage you do not compete"
The clear, defining and undeniable competitive advantage is you. It's not your products, nor your company; it is all YOU.
- What makes you tick?
- What makes you come alive?
- What is your clear distinction in the marketplace?
I believe it's the combination of mindset, heart set and knowledge set that will help you to create your competitive advantage.
Peter Drucker once said,
"Knowledge has to be improved, challenged, and increased constantly, or it vanishes."
Therefore, I believe knowledge is one huge competitive advantage for sales professionals.
Here lies the mirror moment question...
How many of you are consuming massive amounts of knowledge and then putting it to use, to create your distinct competitive advantage?
Here is one more for you to think about...
Who has more knowledge within your client base, you or your competition?
Are you all starting to smell what I'm cooking?
And if your sniffer needs a bit more help, allow me to sprinkle a bit more seasoning to help you...
- Are you aware and do you have knowledge of what your clients really appreciate about what you do?
- Are you aware and do you have knowledge around why your long-term clients are still with you?
- Are you aware and do you have knowledge of what your clients have to say about you and their experiences with you?
IDEAS TO CREATE YOUR DIFFERENTIATION
The challenge for all of you in sales is to clearly identify what you do best in a way that is clearly visible, distinct and radically different from all of your competitors.
Today's sales professional must consume daily doses of knowledge, then put it into action.
Here are three ideas to help you turn knowledge into your competitive advantage.
Is there a gap between what you know and what you need to know within your client base?
- What business knowledge have you gathered about your clients?
- What does the next 6-12 months look like for your clients?
- What are their goals, initiatives and current challenges?
"In today's commoditized business world, customers only care about one thing: value. To offer real value you must stop being a salesperson and become a businessperson who sells."
Marc Miller, A Seat at the Table.
When it comes to business knowledge, how much do you know about your clients' business?
- Are you reading their company reports or articles about them?
- Are you following their business market trends?
- Are you allowing your clients to teach you, their business?
- Are you gaining a solid understanding of their initiatives, goals, dreams and desires?
- Are you learning the terminology they use within their business?
Sales professionals make a commitment to self-educate themselves about their client's business.
I believe salespeople can earn a PhD in business knowledge from their clients, if they are willing to ask, listen and take action.
We all know how competitive it is in today's marketplace, so here's what I would like all of you to think about right now...
How much institutional business knowledge do you have with your top 5 accounts?
I ask because I want all of you to think about something for a moment, think about all the other salespeople your clients are interacting with on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.
Think about your clients and what they are discussing with other salespeople.
Think about all these salespeople, and now ask yourself the question...
Do I have more institutional knowledge then all the other salespeople?
This my sales friends is one huge competitive advantage.
Building meaningful relationships and connecting with your clients is mission critical to your sales success.
Can one's relational knowledge become a competitive advantage? I believe it can be.
Randeep Hooda reinforces this belief by saying,
"Knowledge is power. You can't begin a career, for that matter even a relationship, unless you know everything there is to know about it."
We as humans crave and value relationships. The same can be said for sales professionals. They crave and value their client relationships.
On a scale of 1-10
- How well are you personally engaging with your clients?
- Are you authentically investing in building meaningful relationships?
- Are you doing what they believe is necessary? Would you even know?
Let's take this one step farther...
Outside of decision makers and influencers, how many people and or relationships have you developed inside your client base?
I am concerned with the relational gaps many have within their client base.
How many times have salespeople said this, "I own this account", "Hey boss, don't worry, my relationships are rock solid", then all of sudden the relational carpet gets pulled out from underneath them.
I encourage all of you to double-down on your relationship building.
The more people you know inside your client base, the more you will grow inside your client base.
Relational knowledge is one huge competitive advantage.
If we all can agree stories sell then let's think what would happen if you collected, bottled up and repurposed your client stories?
Would you open up more genuine, real and authentic conversations?
I strongly believe sales professionals are relationship connectors. They connect to the hearts and minds of their clients through stories.
Storytellers are great story collectors.
- How many of you can share your clients' stories?
- How many of you know how you have helped your clients?
Are you sharing your stories within your client base or are your competitors sharing their stories? Would you even know? Would your clients even tell you?
“We are all storytellers. We all live in a network of stories. There isn’t a stronger connection between people than storytelling.”
Jimmy Neil Smith, Director of the International Storytelling Center
Story gathering, storytelling and story sharing is another huge competitive advantage.
KNOWLEDGE, THE GAME CHANGER IN CREATING YOUR ADVANTAGE
Successful sales professionals seek to be different, not just better. I believe being different makes them better in the long run.
Successful sales professionals clearly understand what makes them different from all others in sales and they can clearly articulate it.
Successful sales professionals turn knowledge into their competitive advantage.
Successful sales professionals know WHY they are the competitive advantage.
What makes you different from all the other empty suits running around in sales?
I will leave you all with something to think about.
What would you say when asked...
What makes you different, unique and distinct from all the other salespeople?
Originally published on Larry Levine's LinkedIn.
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