As salespeople, we generally know that the people we are selling to are being contacted by other salespeople as well: our competition. For this reason, it’s important to find ways to stand apart, in a positive way, from the other salespeople our prospects may be talking to. When your customer is ready to make a purchase, you want them to think of you first. Here are a few ways to do just that: 

1. Be Authentic

Be yourself, be interesting, be interested. It can be tempting to use every conversation and interaction with your prospective customer to pitch, pitch, pitch. As much as this may seem like a good use of your time, it doesn’t make for an enjoyable conversation for the person on the other end. You can make your conversations different from the ones they are having with other salespeople by letting them get to know the real you. Share an anecdote, ask them about a tweet or post that you saw from them…have a real conversation and really listen to what they have to say.

2. Read. A lot.

It is vital for so many reasons that you stay current on news related to your industry. Not only does this allow you to develop expertise that could be helpful to your clients, but it gives you the opportunity to anticipate changes to the marketplace. If you want to really stay on top of things, set an alert for each of your most important clients. You’ll know what is going on with them and also their competition. Passing along useful news and information is a fantastic way to stay in touch and provide value.

3. Always follow through.

Every time you say you are going to do something, it’s an opportunity to build trust. So each time you do what you say you are going to do, you are showing the person who you are dealing with that you are trustworthy. This means that if you say you are going to send that proposal tomorrow, do it. If you say you’ll check back in in a week, do it. Even if your prospect doesn’t remember that you made that promise, when you do follow through they get an inkling that you always do what you say you’re going to do. 

4. Look for commonalities.

The obvious thing is to look for something you may have in common with the person you are talking to. I use social media quite a bit for this sort of thing. I’ll peek at someone’s LinkedIn profile before I get on a call with them and scan for things like whether we went to the same university, lived in the same town, or have similar personal interests. You don’t even have to have something in common to build a relationship, you can just ask them about something you saw on their profile. “I see you’re involved with X charity. I’ve been curious about what they do exactly. Can you explain?” That way your conversation is not just about business and helps you stand apart from other sales conversations they may have had.

5. Listen.

Don’t just give your prospects airtime, but really listen. Ask them questions about their companies and their business's goals for the coming year. Try to find out what their individual goals and objectives are, both at work and in their personal lives. People are making business decisions from several different perspectives: certainly the company’s needs and goals but also people look at the world around them from the lenses of their own experiences and backgrounds. 

What are some things that you do to stand out from other salespeople? Share your tips in the comments below.