Customers select one company from the others based on getting something that’s important “better” from the one. “Better” simply boils down to three (3) factors – more benefits, less risks, and least effort. Many believe selection is based on price. I say not true. A “better” deal – yes. ...Customers select one company from the others based on getting something that’s important “better” from the one. “Better” simply boils down to three (3) factors – more benefits, less risks, and least effort. Many believe selection is based on price. I say not true. A “better” deal – yes. The bigger questions are who’s doing the differentiating. That’s what ultimately counts - and what is the important something s/he is differentiating?

Macro Differentiation

Macro applies to the marketing world. The main focus is company image (branding) and generating leads to the company. Examples are Nordstrom’s Service and Volvo’s Safety. Service and Safety are how they have branded themselves. They are known for this and people are drawn to them for these qualities. Macro differentiation requires lots of publicity, time, constant repetition, substance, and follow-through by all employees. Management must mandate, reinforce, recognize, reward, and chastise to insure it happens.

Micro Differentiation

Micro applies to selling. Individuals on the same project want different things. This is why business to business selling is complex. You have to show all the people involved you have his or her “special it’s” and you can deliver the “it’s” better than any other competitive alternative. This is micro differentiation. It is specific to each project and each person. Micro differentiation requires interviewing to understand and build the perfect vision for each voter. Then offering your fit to each in a way that the competition can’t come behind you and say they can do that also. Sales people must be disciplined to meet with many decision-makers and eventually get to the top dog. Management must mandate, reinforce, recognize, reward, and chastise to insure it happens.

Application

Joe, the maintenance manager, may want good service (defined in his specific terms) and Mike, the operations manager, may want high quality (defined in his terms) both may be interested in the other’s desire. Both also want compliance to the general specification. But Joe focuses on service and is very sensitive to it, and may be willing to pay more for it. This is not the same as Mike’s focus - quality. To complicate matters further, both individuals may want you to provide what each thinks their boss Al wants. Their perceptions of the Al’s desires may be correct or incorrect, but will always be tainted by their own desires. So the solution is to interview all three and then present your offering so that all get what they want more benefits with less risk of failure and/or using the least effort on their parts.

Conclusion

Showing micro differentiation in a proposal or presentation is a shot in the dark if you don’t know the persuading factors for the most powerful people and those that strongly influence him/her. This is why one company appears on the surface to look the same as the other when addressing specs. Each is answering the black and white specs without the understanding of who wants what. However, sales people try differentiating by including everything. So the document is voluminous and nobody of importance reads it, or the presentation is long and boring and the important people leave or don’t show.

Touting macro differentiation to win the votes is another shot in the dark. If the decision-makers – especially the most powerful feel that all the competitors have enough safety built in and service by every one is satisfactory, then neither Volvo nor Nordstrom will have a competitive advantage.

So use your macro message to build image and leads. Once you have a suspect learn and build together, the personal, colorful factors of each person, and then skew the delivery towards the powerful and influential, “better” to win. Now isn’t that why you wanted to differentiate – to win the sale and follow-on sales??

And now I invite you to learn more.

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Bonus Tip: FREE E-Book “Getting Past Gatekeepers and Handling Blockers”. Just click this C-Level Relationship Selling Link Sam Manfer makes it easy for any sales person to be effective and feel comfortable connecting with any relationship selling C-Level leaders.