Uncopyable Sales Secrets
Everyone in sales knows, or should know, that one of the keys to success is the ability to differentiate yourself, your products or services, and your brand from the rest of the herd. In many industries, the top products or services are not that different from each other, and often what drives customers to decide one way or the other is how the sales representatives differentiate themselves from their competitors.
Longtime sales professional and author Kay Miller has taken this idea a step further: Make yourself not just different, but “uncopyable.” She has written a book on the subject, Uncopyable Sales Secrets, and she joined our Sales Lead Dog podcast to talk about the book and share some of her insights.
Kay’s Career Story
Kay’s college major was marketing, but it didn’t take long for her to figure out that she was more suited for sales.She started selling cabinet hardware and moved on to automobile mufflers and catalytic converters. She was usually one of a small number of women, and sometimes the only woman, on the sales team serving male-dominated markets, but was able to achieve significant success, including territory manager of the year.
Later, she and her husband, Steve, decided to have a family, but both of them traveled for work and they knew that one of them would have to stop. He had formed his own marketing company, and she ended up doing marketing and sales for him and raised their daughter as well.
Kay was inspired to write her book in part as a companion piece to a book her husband wrote, called Uncopyable, which was focused on marketing. Unlike many books about sales, Kay’s book presents its points through stories from her long sales career–both the successes and the foibles and missteps.
Regarding failure, Kay says that it’s an unavoidable part of sales, and although failure can be unpleasant, it helps you grow as a sales professional. “Failure is definitely a part of success,” she says. “The more you can raise your tolerance for failure, the more you’ll succeed.”
Kay says that the three key takeaways from her book are:
- Call one of your current customers and ask them: “Can you tell me, in your own words, why you buy from me?” This is a powerful tool because your customers know best what they perceived as your differentiator.
- Regarding your brand, come up with two or three words that describe you but would not describe anyone else. (This is one way to be “uncopyable.”) Kay and her husband’s products and marketing materials are mainly orange in color, and in their marketing philosophy, the target market is represented by a moose. Thus, for Kay’s brand, the three words are “uncopyable,” “orange,” and “moose.”
- Don’t be afraid of silence. Know when to shut up and let the customer or prospect think, and don’t feel compelled to fill the silence with talk. It’s an old maxim in sales, but many sales professionals, even seasoned ones like Kay, find it difficult.
One of the most important traits in a sales professional, Kay says, is a good work ethic. Sales is hard work, and “you just can’t get ahead in life if you just want to slack.”
For more on Kay’s insights, and a special offer for our podcast listeners, check out her interview on Sales Lead Dog.