Different.jpgWhat sets you apart from all those other companies?

It’s no secret that today’s marketplace is a crowded one. Thanks to technology and globalization, competition is stiffer than ever. So how do you ensure that buyers choose you?

Here’s a hint. It’s not technology. Your competitors have access to the same data, social-selling tools, and marketing applications that you do. They’ve probably read the same sales blogs and articles, and they know how to use LinkedIn.

The secret to real sales success: Relationships.

The Early Bird Gets the Worm

Our customers complete about 67 percent of the buying process before they ever speak to a salesperson, according to SiriusDecisions. Before they reach out to us, they’ve usually read all about us and our products online. They’ve used social media to ask our current customers to spill the beans about their experiences working with us. And they’ve researched our competitors.

Waiting for buyers to finish up their homework and come to you is not smart salesmanship. By this point, you’re already in a competitive situation, and your odds of closing a deal have diminished at least five-fold.

Break Away From the Pack

Your customers already think all vendors are the same, because everyone has the same message and makes the same promises. You have a choice. You can look like every other company, or you can set yourself apart from the rest.

The trick is getting in front of your buyers before they even know they need you, to help them identify the pain points they didn’t know were hurting, and to gain their trust by offering solutions.

You’ve Got a Golden Ticket

So how do you get in the door first? With referral introductions from people your buyers know and trust, you walk straight into meetings with your ideal prospects. You don’t have to worry about getting past the gatekeepers or heading off the competition, because you have the best possible competitive advantage—a relationship.

Because you’ve been referred, you arrive with credibility and trust already built. Your buyer will share important information with you—including how decisions are made, who is on board and who to watch out for, and what you need to do to seal the deal. You’ll be privy to important timelines and budget concerns. You’ll have the inside track.

When you prospect through referrals, you set the standard by which others must compete, which means your competitors don’t stand a chance.

For more on how referrals seal the deal, check out my new book, Pick Up the Damn Phone!: How People, Not Technology, Seal the Deal—now available on Amazon and at Barnes & Noble. Or get the digital version for your Kindle or Nook.

Comment Here

When has a referral scored you an opportunity your competitors didn’t even know existed?