by S. Anthony Iannarino
Sales is a zero sum game. Someone wins, and someone loses. The person who wins does so because they create a preference. They create a bias, and that bias blocks competitors and competitive offerings.
The way that you create a preference for you and your solution is by creating greater value. You want to drive a wedge between your customer and your competitors and create a strong bias for you and what you sell.
Greater trust creates a preference. Your dream clients are worried about execution, and they worry about risk. Trust is the timeless and deep fundamental that alleviates the concerns that you will fail your client. It mitigates the concern that you might be self-oriented and that you are making decisions to create the greatest benefit for you.
You also create a preference through developing a deeper understanding of your dream clients challenges. Understanding your client’s challenges proves that you cared enough to learn about them and their business. It also demonstrates that you have business acumen and situational knowledge, the keys to developing the right solutions and ensuring they fit.
You create a bias by having ideas about what your client’s future will look like—or how it might look if they make the right decisions. This future-orientation positions you as something more than someone who sells a product or service. It establishes you as a trusted advisor, someone with the ability to help guide your client’s business into the future.
Along these same lines, you create a preference when you take responsibility for a greater outcome. When you handle outcomes instead of products and services, you create a preference by taking on a higher level of accountability. Coupled with your deep understanding, this makes you a more strategic partner by allowing you to become an integrated part of how your client does business. You bring ideas.
Economic value creates a preference. One of the most significant changes in sales over the last few decades has been the whittling away of sales relationships that were built only on a personal liking and friendship. Those things are still important, but they need to be coupled with economic value. Your solution needs to create results, and one of the measurements is going to be financial. You create a preference when your value creates a greater economic impact (and you can do this even when you have a higher price).
What are you doing to create a preference and bias for working with you over all the other salespeople your dream client could choose to buy from?
What are you doing to create a bias for your ideas about what the future is going to look like and the decisions your clients should be taking now?
How does what you are selling and how you are selling it create a greater level of strategic commitment and integrate you into your client’s organization?
How do you become a category of one?