“Thank you for calling Tallann Resources, this is Tom.”
“Mr. Erb, my name is John Smith and I’m with Better Quality Electric Power. Does your company use electricity, and if so, are you happy with your current supplier?”
“Uh, yes we use electricity, and I guess we are happy with our current company.”
“Well I’d like to schedule an appointment with you for just 15 minutes next week. Does 1 pm or 2 pm on Wednesday work better for you?”
“Why would we be meeting?”
“So I can talk to you about how we are different than the electric service you are using now.”
“How are you different?”
“Great question! It's the quality of our electricity.”
“Quality of your electricity?”
“Yes, we have the best electricity in the industry.”
“According to whom?”
“Our customers! I’d be happy to provide some references. Now about that appointment…..”
This conversation sounds kind of ridiculous, doesn’t it? Now replace the word “electricity” with “staffing” and see how close it sounds to your or your sales rep’s calls with prospects. The reality is this is how the overwhelming majority of sales people in our industry sell. We have this nebulous, vague term called “quality” that we throw out whenever someone asks us how we are different.
The problem is that everybody is out there selling quality. I mean EVERYBODY. I’ve consulted and spoken to thousands of staffing professionals since I started my firm and well over 90% say they use some sort of variation of quality as their differentiator. Unfortunately when everyone uses the term generically, it loses all value (another term we love to use). Our prospects and clients have become completely desensitized to the word, and in many cases even find it amusing that our industry uses it so much.
So what should you be saying? Well first off, there are two keys to any differentiator. One, the differentiator must provide significant value to the prospect. Two, it has to be quantifiable in some way that the prospect believes it. The problem with using “quality” as your differentiator is that everybody else is also using it, and no one is backing it up with any proof.
Here are 5 steps to truly differentiate yourself from your competition and get away from selling “quality”:
1. Research your competition. Don’t assume you know what they are doing, because you don’t. Trust me, starting a staffing consulting business made me realize I knew nothing about what other staffing firms were doing.
2. Analyze what really makes your company different and better than your competition. Can’t find anything? That’s OK, now’s the time to develop a differentiator that will resonate with prospects and clients.
3. Talk to your clients. Ask them why they work with you, and what services they would like to have that no one currently offers.
4. Quantify your differentiator. Let’s face it, until you build trust with a prospect they aren’t going to take everything you say at face value (particularly on a cold call). How can you prove that what you say is different actually is true?
5. Tie your differentiator to a significant benefit for the prospect. We’ve all heard the saying “people don’t buy features, they buy benefits”. Your differentiator is the feature – showing the benefit of that differentiator is why prospects will (or won’t) buy.
Okay, here’s the kicker. If you do the above five steps, you actually CAN sell quality. The key, whether its selling electricity or staffing, is to show that you are significantly and quantifiably better than the option they have now, and tie it to a direct benefit that compels the buyer to make a change.