The other day, I was listening to a sales webinar as part of my professional development. About a third of the way through, a classic sales adage popped up on the screen. The presenter made the point as if it were a total no-brainer that nobody in her right mind would question: “As we all know—all things being equal—people buy from those they know, like and trust.”

Sounds reasonable enough, right? In fact, I have agreed with this statement for years. But suddenly, it hit me that it was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard.

Why “all things being equal” is wrong. You’re probably thinking “Jill, have you lost your marbles? Everyone knows that that is the way people buy.” Let me tell you what’s wrong with this concept. Unless you’re selling commodities, nothing is ever equal. And beyond that, our job as sellers is to make sure things are unequal.

The truth is it all starts with us, what we bring to the table (our ideas on how prospects and clients can address their issues, our insights into ways prospects can more easily achieve their objectives and the useful information we can share with them on a variety of topics).

Become the better option. Inequality is evident in how we interact with our customers, too. Are we curious about how things are or more interested in pitching our stuff? Can we guide prospects through a complicated decision-making process or help them build a solid business case for change? Or are we more focused on closing the deal?

Your product or service may be pretty equal to your competitors’, but there’s no reason you have to be. Your job is to stand out from your competitors, to be an invaluable resource they can’t live without. Of course, that means you’ll have to do a little more work to turn yourself into a competitive edge. But let me tell you something: Every single minute you spend doing that will pay off.  

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