I spoke to a great group yesterday called Women in Networking - and prior to this event, asked my cntact to poll the group with their biggest issues in selling.
Their responses resonated with the typical issues:
The biggest issue that I face is marketing myself.
What makes my service different or special - why should they buy from me?
The biggest issue for me is breaking into an already established market and referral network.
How do I get prospects to sign with me - as opposed to my competition?
We had an interesting conversation about dealing with that foundational issue of knowing how YOU differentiate -- how you add value, and what that value is. Most people call that your Value Proposition. At the end of the day, it is the reason you push on - the reason you began in the first place. You must be able to articulate what it is that makes your offer different, or better than what is perceived in the marketplace.
Most people don't tackle this well - in fact many medium and large companies have problems with their value proposition - they are not clear on how they set themselves apart or why people should choose their business over another one. Their sales reps are not consistant in what they say about their company's value - and this fractures the company's branding. Their are ways to hone in on what your value is - we will discuss that further in a future post.
This foundation - the cement you pour for your house of sales - must be solid - it vitally affects how the rest of the house turns out.
For now, write your value down on paper. Ask your good customers, business partners, and referrers. Have a "heart-to-heart" with yourself as to why you represent what you represent. Are you proud of what you do each day? Is there great value in what you offer? If your answers are no to either of those questions, then you are spinning your wheels.
Sales is admirable when you bring value to the world - if you are just another "me-too" offer, then - as they say in the coffee business, when you order a non-fat decaf: "Why bother?"