Remember the guy that invented “The Gazelle”? His name was Tony Little, and he was one of the first people to take advantage of the “infomercial” phenomena.

Little had a saying that I absolutely love…”Different isn’t always better, but better is always different.” That’s the topic for our ongoing discussion about quality versus utility.

I believe that statement means that just because we say we are different doesn’t necessarily mean that we are better. But if we are going to truly be better, we have to be different.

This is the second step in the three-step process we work on with our dealer partners and their sales teams that fights our predisposition to talk about quality first.

As a salesperson myself, when I’m told to “differentiate,” my first thought goes to how I can show my prospect how much I, my company and my product are better than the competition. This, of course, leads to the “kill” mentality that we used to have in the old days. I need “kill” product pieces, “kill” literature and the competitors’ negative scores from the good ol’ Better Business Bureau.

The problem is today’s customer is more savvy and much more educated. They already know all the negative stuff about your competitors (and you as well), and you regurgitating it makes you look like all the other salespeople out there. In other words, you saying you’re better by showing how bad (different) your competition is rarely makes that point.

If you really want to be better, talk at a higher level. Talk about how things are done differently, for example. Take a process that most of your competitors do differently than you, without calling them out individually. Then talk about some of the pros and cons of doing things that way. This lends itself to a more educational and less sales-y tone and builds your rapport with the homeowner.

In the final installment of the series, we’ll talk about how we finally get to do what we love most … talk about OUR product.

Until then, are you different or are you better?

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