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Killer Sales Questions: Point of Difference


In addition to you, your prospective customer tells you, "we are also interviewing (or "working with" or "buying from") XYZ Company. They are a great company we love them, and their prices are better than yours."

What the customer is actually saying to you is, "Tell me why I should buy from you instead." The customer knows XYZ Company's reputation. They know how good they are. They know that XYZ Company has better pricing than yours. The customer knew all of this before even taking the time to meet with you. So why are they talking to you?

You have this meeting with this customer because there is something wrong with XYZ's Company's relationship with the customer. A ball was dropped, a faux pas was made. Something happened to cause the customer to question his/her loyalty to XYZ Company. It is your mission to find out what and how you can underscore it.Because you have rehearsed and planned for this call, you are prepared and armed with how you and your company differ from XYZ Company. Your answer to the customer's question is as follows: "Of course. XYZ Company is a good company. Would you like to discuss how our company differs from theirs?"

By golly is this a Killer Sales Question.

Your response is important. It should not smudge the name of the competitor. To talk negative of your competitor would be an insult to the intelligence of the customer. In fact, you should not even repeat the competitor's name.

The customer will answer your killer sales question with a yes. Why? Because it is precisely the question he or she wants to be answered. He or she wants to know the difference between you and your competitor, so he or she can make the decision to go with you.

Your answer will forever determine what the customer thinks about you. How you define your difference from your competitor will determine how you own that position.

Your point of difference (P.O.D.) should offset you from your competition. It does not have to be better or worse than your competitor's goods or service, only different. Your P.O.D. needs to inform. It needs to contain information that the customer does not know. Armed with new and different information, the customer can make a decision without losing face or encountering criticism

The recruiter at a 4-year university in Mississippi knew that she competed with other schools in the state and region on recruiting good students. In meetings with prospective freshmen and their parents, the recruiter would ask, "where else are you looking to go?" As would be expected, the name of an excellent Ivy League School would be mentioned. The recruiter would look thoughtful (but would not show any sign of admittance or approval) and then ask, "I know that school. Would you be interested in our points of difference?"

The recruiter would then say, "As you know, our school is ranked high among schools nationally. Our point of difference is that we provide online options as well as traditional coursework. Five of our programs are ranked in the top five nationally, including many Ivy League Universities. Wouldn't you agree that the added flexibility of taking classes around your schedule, in a highly successful and acknowledge program of study is better. Additionally you can study close to home." In an era where higher educational access is widely open from traditional brick and mortar programs to modern online course work, this university not only survives but flourishes.

"Me too" marketers are too lazy, or noncreative or have an inferiority complex. Great marketers find a difference. Great marketers find a difference. Great marketers always invite customers to evaluate a point of difference. And that P.O.D. is just that, the difference, for better or worse, the customer must know the difference. He or she needs this information so he or she can change the minds of his or her colleagues.

Some people like Strawberry Cake and some like Coconut. Each is different but not necessarily better than the other. So when the cake customer says to the coconut cake salesperson, "I like coconut cake, "the salesperson responds, "Fine, would you like to know our point of difference? Unlike any other kind of cake, this cake is made with fresh strawberries. Would you like to try a slice?

Successful marketers sell that which is different.


If you found this article useful, then check out earlier Killer Sales Question articles:

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Jonathan Reeves

I am an experienced nonprofit professional, skilled in Fundraising, Marketing, and Development. When it comes to advancing your organizations mission and outreach, I go the distance, using every networking tool available to reach the target demographic. When not working for a nonprofit or other business, I use my skills to advance historic and genealogical research for individuals, organizations, and anyone looking to know more about the past.

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