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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.

Written by: Vickie Sullivan  |  June 06, 2017

How to Stand Out In Sales Conversations

How to Stand Out In Sales Conversations

When we try to stand out from our competition, much effort goes into the “get out there” activities: websites, social media, etc. Where the rubber meets the road, though, is in sales conversations. What I notice: Many of us either ignore our competitors or underestimate their impact when talking to buyers.

It’s easy to focus on our value and hope the decision makers will choose us. The reality, however, is buyers don’t look at our contribution in a vacuum. They compare us to their other options. Therefore, whoever influences that comparison becomes the front-runner.

My favorite tactic: Become the benchmark. Instead of meeting the buyers’ standards, use their criteria as starting points. Add your best value on top of that and delineate the impact. What happens next: What you do best has become the new standard. A standard your competitors don’t compare well to, which makes you look even better.


Listen: How to have that “here’s how we are different” conversation


Here’s how it works: Your buyer lays out three things they expect.

Your response: “Sure—our approach is to also include these extra two things and here’s why.” Ask if the extra stuff would be helpful. (Of course they will say “sure!”) Explore the impact so they are sold on the extra value. Now all the competitors will have to provide that, too. Again, make sure what you offer is something your competitors aren’t known for. Your competitors either have to persuade the buyers to change the standards or create an apples/oranges comparison. Either way, everyone else is at a disadvantage.

When you focus on general standards such as quality and service, you may get past the initial round of consideration. When you change the comparison in your favor, you get the deal.


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About Vickie Sullivan

Vickie Sullivan is internationally recognized as the top market strategist for thought leaders, professional speakers and B2B professional service firms. Specializing in brand and message strategies in crowded markets, she has helped thousands of talented people outsmart their competition since 1987.