A Question of Differentiation

Dear Colleen,

In Agriculture sales our product is commoditized and our prices are regulated by the markets. Of course we all have specialty and “unique” premium products but clients often see us all the same. What can we do to differentiate ourselves and not compete only on price.


Hi Dean,

This is a great question for everyone – in Ag. sales or otherwise because in a marketplace where customers see similarities everywhere, we can all be reduced to commodities if we are not careful. What you need are a number of differentiators to use use singularly or in tandem on each deal to break past the sameness and win the business.

Here are seven ideas.

“Give them something to talk about” Smoother your prospects in testimonials and referrals from other companies. Its hard to ignore, or resist the word of respected peers in the marketplace.

Meet their expectations.  Ask them point blank what should be in your proposal, what it should cover and what it should cost. You might be surprised at how direct the answers are. Give the customer exactly what they want, in their words, and you will be surprised at how many more deals you close, more quickly (but I won’t be ;-))

Acknowledge and Appreciate. Thank your customers for doing business with you. Acknowledge that they are important to you. reward them for staying with you. This will lead to repeat order and referrals.

Communicate with clients using their preferred technology.It could be face to face, phone, email SKYPE, IM or FaceBook. It’s not for you to decide. Meet your client where they are at and accommodate their requirements. That will set you apart from everyone else who refuses to participate in new modes of communication(and 80% of your competition will refuse to participate)

Be nice. Remember his birthday, his wife’s birthday or his dog’s birthday. Remembering the personal in a business relationships impresses the heck out of people! .

Be easy. Be the easiest to do business with. Let you customer be the diva for a change and help them buy from you in the ways that make sense to them

Be first. Return calls and emails so fast that it becomes part of what you’re known for. Being there first is a dramatic demonstration of how much you care and how you work for the customer.

Be last. Make your presentations and proposals last on their list for review so you can gage their comparison of yours to the others and make your memorable.

Sell more this week!