How to Stand Out among a Sea of Sales Reps

Learn sales tips for getting buyers to realize the unique value you bring to the table, no matter how commoditized your offering.

May 14, 2015


In a recent blog post, Andy Paul addressed the challenge of standing out in a hyper-competitive sales market. As science and technology progress, tech innovations that set products apart can be quickly copied by competitors. At the same time, buyers have more choices in products than ever before.

The end result is that, “In the view of your prospects, virtually all vendors in a given market segment increasingly look alike,” Paul says. “If a salesperson can’t deliver value …then he or she will also become an interchangeable commodity.”

The good news is, if you can deliver value, you can stand out against the sea of interchangeable sales reps offering similar solutions.  Read on for sales tips to help you add value for every prospect.

  1. Increase your industry expertise

When you have genuine insight into the prospect’s industry, you stand out more than the reps with a couple of pain points in their presentations. Follow the LinkedIn Company Pages of relevant companies so you can see the content they’re sharing.  You can also follow industry thought leaders on LinkedIn Pulse.

What conversations are taking place in the industry? How is it changing? What’s new and/or controversial? These are the questions that pique the interest of your prospects, and with research you can provide expert answers to these questions.

LinkedIn Groups are another good place to soak up knowledge. You can see potential prospects discuss their concerns in real-time, with the added benefit of potentially making connections through the group.

  1. Become an expert on your prospects

LinkedIn is a valuable tool for finding insights that can add value for your prospects. Start with research about your target company in general and the decision makers in particular. The articles they share and updates they post provide valuable insight into what’s top-of-mind. Don’t forget group posts as well—anything they’re sharing can help you personalize your approach.

Can you anticipate a prospect’s questions and direct them to deepen the conversation? Can you tell a compelling story, so the prospect can imagine their life with your solution? You’ll be more successful if your prospect knowledge gives you the confidence to take on the toughest questions.

  1. Develop your sales skills

Even if your sales techniques are strong, it’s a good idea to keep looking for ways to improve. You can start by honing these five social selling skills you’re likely to use every day. The sales profession is evolving as buyers become more self-sufficient and connected with each other. It’s worthwhile to keep evolving your skills as well.

  1. Enhance your business acumen

Just as it’s great to follow thought leaders in the industries you serve, it’s a good idea to stay abreast of the business landscape in general. That doesn't mean you have to read a thick stack of sales or business books every year (though it probably wouldn’t hurt). LinkedIn alone contains a treasure trove of long-form articles from thought leaders with a wide range of specialties. You can follow a few of them to keep your feed stocked with the very latest insights.

Some of your potential prospects may be researching their next purchase right now, looking for the sales pro who stands out in the crowd. When you have mastered your industry and product knowledge, honed your sales skills, and have your finger firmly on the pulse of the business world, you’ll be ready to provide value that will make you stand out from the rest.

For more tips on adding value through social selling download our new eBook, 6 Steps to Accelerate Your Sales in 2015.