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Much of what you read here involves sales strategies designed to help you win your dream clients. These strategies are also designed to differentiate you from the many competitors who happen to sell the same thing you do. Without being different in some significant way, you will be one of the crowd, with no reason for anyone to prefer buying from you.

Without knowing your sales leaders or your sales managers, it is likely you have been taught and trained (and gaslighted) into believing the differentiation comes from your company and your solution. I wish this were true, but your buyers and decision-makers don't see much difference between your company and your solution, and what your competitor offers. What's worse, is that many of your contacts see you and your competitors as commodities, as they find little to no difference between sales reps.

Understanding Sales Commoditization in B2B Markets

Commodities are offerings that are interchangeable. When something is fungible, you can trade it for something similar without missing anything. As much as you want to believe your company and your solution are somehow different in some meaningful way as it pertains to your clients’ results, you and your competitors’ solutions work equally well.

What's worse is that your prospective clients believe your organization is fungible, meaning they could trade you for one of your competitors without recognizing any difference. This occurs when the sales conversation has become a commodity. In a commoditized sales conversation, the salesperson asks the client about their problem and their pain point, followed by an explanation of the sales organization’s solution and why it is the best fit for the client. Your competitor provides the same set of questions, and positions their solution in the same way, making you totally and recklessly fungible.

It is important you are different, but not in a way that would lower your sales status. It is important to recognize that you are the value proposition when you are sitting across from your contact and their teams. Once you understand this, you can differentiate your sales conversation and create a preference to buy from you. Overcoming sales commoditization and leveraging B2B market differentiation strategies can significantly impact your success. What follows here are a few ways you can become a category of one. We don't pretend this is easy, but anything that will help you win deals is worth the time and effort.

Key Strategies to Become Unparalleled in Sales

Expertise and Credibility: For some time here, I have suggested that buyers and decision makers seek experts in their industry. They also want to work and buy from a credible source they can trust to help them improve their results. If you are willing to do the work to become the expert, you will distinguish yourself, moving closer to being a category of one, and becoming a unique sales professional.

Business Acumen: Your business acumen is a sign that you are quite different when compared with your competitors. A salesperson with business acumen is a needle in a haystack, a rare find. Anything that is rare enough scores points with your sales champion and their stakeholders, making strategies to stand out in sales competition invaluable.

Reading and Research: If you want to win over your rivals, you would do well to do the reading and the research that will inform how you sell. Those who read and research have an extreme advantage over their competition. Those who fail to read and research the headwinds in the client's industry will pale in comparison to the salesperson who is a wealth of information and uses it to build a list of questions and insights they can share with their clients.

A Consultative Approach: Most salespeople believe they are consultative. When asked what consultative means, they suggest that they ask questions and avoid high-pressure tactics. The word consultative means you counsel your clients, providing them with the advice and recommendations they need to be able to understand how to make a change that will improve their business. This brings us to the strategy that will move you to the front of the pack. . .

Enabling Decision Making: While your rivals are all about their company and their solution, you spend your time helping the client understand the nature of their poor results, what has changed in their environment, and what they need to know to make the best decision for the change they need to make. Just explaining the factors that impact results, as well as how to weigh them, will cause your client to find you a more professional salesperson, further distinguishing you in the competitive landscape.

Unveiling the Core of Sales Competition

The true nature of competition is less about your company or your solution, and more about how you sell. The competition is between the salespeople pursuing a prospective client. It is a good thing this is true. Imagine if your competitor's company was so much better than yours that you would lose to them every time. What if your competitor's solution was so much better than yours that you were unable to win a competitive deal?

It is far better for you to be the variable that determines whether you win or lose. Were you to follow the path of becoming a category of one, differentiating yourself by how you sell, the more work you do to be able to create value far above your competitors, the more you were the standout with your competitors in the category of also-ran.

The truth here is that very few people are willing to do the work that would make them world class and a category of one. Understanding competitive dynamics in sales and how to outperform in competitions can provide a significant advantage. If you want an advantage, it won't be nearly as difficult as showing up as another salesperson who projects that they are a commodity.

Leaving this article, spend time improving how you sell and considering how to differentiate your sales approach from the drones that are indistinguishable in your contact's eyes. Embracing strategies to become unparalleled in sales will not only elevate your sales status but also position you as the preferred choice for your clients. If you want more strategies like this one, sign up for the VIP Newsletter. And, as always, do good work.


Sales 2024
Post by Anthony Iannarino on March 18, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is the author of four books on the modern sales approach, one book on sales leadership, and his latest book called The Negativity Fast releases on 10.31.23. Anthony posts daily content here at TheSalesBlog.com.
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