If you are a parent and have guided your children through their adolescence, the question “Why am I different?” has come your way on more than one occasion.

When children are dealing with being overly self-conscious, dating and peer pressure, they seem to notice every little difference between them and their friends.  Noticing those differences has them totally convinced that their friends are perfect and they are somehow flawed.  As they mature, those differences are hopefully viewed as good things rather than bad.  But in the mind of a teenager – those differentiators can be overwhelming.

Most sales people are constantly dealing with a competitive marketplace.  There are numerous companies out there who have a product or service that is similar to yours.  Sometimes, you are actually selling exactly the same product or service as your competitors.

To be successful at selling in a competitive market, you need to become an expert at three things:

  1. Your competitive differentiators – the key components that make your company, product or service the correct choice over your competition
  2. Your value above the transaction – the things you and your company bring to the table that adds value to the life/work of your customer for which they pay nothing
  3. Verbalizing both number 1 and 2 – the questions you ask and the phrases you say to establish your competitive differentiators, along with the additional value you add; the goal is to establish this so clearly that your prospect would never do business with your competitors.

Most companies have adequate training on your competitive differentiators.  A few companies spend a limited of focus on the value above the transaction.  But very few companies seem to spend adequate time taking their sales team through the process of determining how they will communicate those points.


  • Write down 5 practical and tangible ways that your product or service is greater than your competition and why those would be important to your prospect.
  • Write down 5 non-transactional value adds you and your company bring to the table and why those would be important to your prospect.

As a sales leader, I have often been asked, “In your leadership role, what keeps you awake at night?”   That thought provoking question would help me crystalize the areas I needed to focus on to improve my business.  It was very valuable to me.

As a sales person – flip that switch slightly and ask yourself, “In their business role, what are the things that keep my prospect awake at night?” That question will help you as you creatively develop your “non-transactional” value added points.

Make sure to complete the exercise above.  Tomorrow, we will look at the best ways to communicate those points to your prospects.


What keeps you awake at night?