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Differentiating From Competition Biggest Issue


A new Colmar Brunton survey shows the issues faced by sales leaders in NZ and what their top performers are doing to help them cut through in the competitive market.

Results of the research showed differentiating themselves from their competition was the biggest issues sales leaders faced (73%), followed by recruiting good salespeople (68%) and maintaining margins (60%).

The survey asked 173 sales leaders about their issues and sales performance.

Business training company David Forman engaged Colmar Brunton to undertake the research and Managing Director, Olivia Blaylock, says the results confirm what they had long believed – that New Zealand businesses must differentiate themselves from their competition to succeed.

“There’s lots of talk about the NZ economy being on the rise, with confidence at an all-time high right now. That doesn’t mean though that business is going to fall into your lap - you still need to be competitive and must be able to clearly articulate what makes you different to your competition. And you should be able to demonstrate your value, not differentiate by simply dropping your price.”

51% of people said price was the main reason they lost sales to their competitors. Blaylock says “that actually means that in 49% of the cases, price wasn’t the reason they lost the sale, yet in the current market, many are often quick to reduce their price in order to win the deal”.

Recruiting good salespeople was the second biggest issue leaders faced and Blaylock says that differentiating yourself can even apply when it comes to attracting the best talent. “In a world of commoditisation the only way for many companies to gain a competitive edge is through their people. Recruit good ones, reward them for performance and train them to continually add value to yours and your client’s business and you’re onto a winner”.

Survey respondents also shared what their top sales performers are doing well with understanding their customers (87%), selling the value of their solutions (83%), gaining commitment (82%), planning (80%) and building customer urgency (73%) being the key elements.

Blaylock says the survey underlines the fact that customer centric selling, which is the core of David Forman’s selling philosophy and model, is more important than ever. “With the increased commoditisation around today, the intensely competitive market we’re all working in and with too many quick to drop prices, there’s a big opportunity available for salespeople to understand why customers buy in the first place, and demonstrate the unique value their solution offers.”

As part of an overall review of their offerings, David Forman has released a series of new masterclasses to respond to the issues leaders are facing. Topics include “Differentiate or Die!’, ‘Growing share of wallet’, ‘Building referral networks’, ‘From Selling to Partnering’ and ‘Protect & Grow Margins’. All are short, practical programmes that can be delivered as public programmes or in-house for team training.

About David Forman Ltd

Established in 1973 by David Forman, who knew there had to be a better way of helping his team succeed. David Forman Ltd is New Zealand’s leading business training company, designing and delivering programmes in sales, leadership and personal effectiveness throughout Australasia.

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