Salespeople live in a world full of competitive claims that lack creativity, imagination, and truth.
Most differentiation statements advocated by organizations and intended to convince us involve words like “best”, “number one”, “leader”, “fastest growing”, “most” and “highest quality” to assert their distinguishable characteristics vis-a-vis their competition.
The usual clap trap
These are common statements sales needs to counter:
— “We have the best sales team in the business”
— “Our people strive to deliver the highest level of client service at all times”
— “We offer the highest quality products”
— “We have the most knowledgeable salespeople”
— “We have been in business for over 30 years”
— “We rank number one in client satisfaction “
— “We are rated the number one sales organization in North America”
Unfortunately, these pronouncements add little understanding to help salespeople convince a potential client to do business with their organization as opposed to their competition.
For example, how exactly does having knowledgeable sales employees make an organization the right choice when others can make the same claim? Who decided an organization ranks number 1 in client satisfaction, and why should I believe them? And why is being in business for 3 decades a compelling reason sales should use to attract new business?
The statements are confusing to clients and have little credibility. They are generally vague and aspirational without proven substance and don’t add any value to the salesperson’s kitbag.
There is another way to approach the challenge of defining what makes an organization special and why people should do business with them and only them.
I call it “the only one” — ONLY.
It’s an approach I developed as president of a data and internet company with a national sales team. I had to come up with an alternative way of communicating why we should be chosen over our competitors; ONLY worked amazingly well and my sales force loved it.
ONLY is constructed this way: “We are the ONLY ones that ___”.
Sales should push for this clarity in their organization to make their job easier. ONLY has important benefits to sales; here are 7 reasons why:
ONLY is bold — some might say arrogant. It’s audacious in the claim to to be THE ONE that owns a particular space and is prepared to show all to prove it. This confident face of the organization, in and of itself, raises curiosity to find out what it’s all about. It gets potential clients leaning in.
ONLY is a simple expression which uses simple language. The low “fog factor” invites eyes to gaze on and process the thought articulated rather than struggling through what it means.
ONLY relies on a binary view; the claim is either true or false. It exists or it doesn’t. It makes it very easy for the reader to assess both its relevance and its truth. “We provide the ONLY solution that permanently stops people from depositing biohazard — aka used needles — contaminants through manhole covers” is a simple expression of the value being created by the offering.
ONLY is built around what is relevant to the customers the organization has chosen to serve — what their target customer group CARES about — therefore these specific people are warmed up to the competitive ONLY claim being made.
“We are the ONLY ones that provide safety solutions anywhere, anytime” speaks volumes to those who could be in need on a moment’s notice and it is reassuring to know that resources are available to help.
ONLY provides detail and clarity around what the solution does, to make it easy for the potential buyer to make an informed decision. It has the cutting edges and lines of specificity that attract attention and followers.
“Unlike other distracted driving solutions that allow drivers to use their smartphone when driving, eBrake is the ONLY one that automatically locks a driver’s phone when motion is detected, but grants passengers unrestricted use.”
ONLY is easily measured by asking the frontline and customers whether the claim is true or not; the measurement process is simple.
In addition, the researcher can look up and compare other organizations and what they offer as a competitive claim and reach their own conclusions on ONLY’s efficacy.
ONLY is different. There is no other similar proven method of creating a claim of competitive advantage out there.
It has a track record of success with many organizations I have had the pleasure of working with. No other advisor, consultant, academic or strategy pundit has a tool in their kitbag like ONLY but Roy — I am the ONLY one.
ONLY is critically important to sales in any organization. It gives the salesperson a competitive claim that is both compelling and relevant to a potential client, unlike the normal clap-trap that organizations declare as their market advantage.
Sales must push for ONLY, and push hard if they want to enhance their performance and build their credibility.