How to Answer, “How Are You Different?”

At some point in the buying process, your prospect is likely to ask, “What makes your product or service different from the competition?”

If you answer with a checklist of the bells, whistles and features that your product or service has that other products and services don’t, you’ve missed the point. The question is not permission to trash-talk the competition. If you answer by second-guessing what you think your prospect wants to hear, you’ve lost momentum. It’s not an invitation to play mind games.

When a prospect asks this question, he or she is really asking what your company and its people stand for and believe, and how your product or service reflects those values. The question is a golden opportunity disguised as a challenge, and two simple steps can help you to use the opportunity wisely.

Step One: Answer the question by finishing the following sentences:

We believe in/We believe that our customers…

That’s why we….

Dig below the surface answers and explore your company’s values. Describe a benefit or situation that reflects those values. The salesperson for a software company finished the sentences this way:

“We believe that our customers deserve a reliable, local expert to answer their support questions. That is why we take a client service approach to supporting you. We don’t route you through an anonymous help desk or call center that is thousands of miles away. We assign a member of our local client service team to each of our clients, and you know exactly whom to call when you have questions.”

Step Two: Follow your answer with a question for the prospect to consider.

For example, the software salesperson might ask: “Do you agree that having a dedicated, local client service person is important when you need assistance?

It’s true that people do business with people that they know, like and trust. The question, “How are you different?” is your chance to build these business fundamentals into your sales process.

Posted on December 1st, 2014