The value of standing out

Leading voices in the sales world are all preaching the same message: "To win customers, beat competitors, attract referrals, build your personal brand, and grow sales — you must differentiate and stand out!"

Do you stand out from your competitors?

Neither do most salespeople, which is good news and all the more reason to get started!

Regrettably, many salespeople follow this pattern: First, begin wearing a zany tie. Next, create a catchy slogan, like "Your go-to guy with the fish tie!" Finally, get your "creative" nephew to design a logo of you as a cartoon, and then plaster it on everything — including your email signature.

You'd be surprised at how close to the truth this is for many people. Forget the silly gimmicks and trite clichés! 

3 strategies to stand out effectively:

1. Underpromise, overdeliver.

Most often, your competitors will do less than they promise. That's an open door of opportunity! If you arrive 10 minutes before meetings, follow up faster than agreed, deliver proposals a day early, and bill less than estimated, you'll win the superlative "Most Impressive!"

2. Be unforgettable.

Always send a follow-up message, and go the extra, memorable mile: create an original, custom-made, perfect-fit gift to give customers after each purchase. If you sell homes, it may be a golden door plaque etched with the buyer's family name. If you sell websites, it may be a rocket-shaped launch trophy that incorporates the customer's web address. It should be an item they will display proudly and see over and over again.

3. State the opposite.

Jeffrey Gitomer counters most sales authorities who say "find the pain" with the advice to find the pleasure or what's profitable. Co-author of the top-selling business book "Rework," Jason Fried says you learn best from your successes rather than mistakes. 

Buck the faulty conventions accepted by your industry, and you'll be viewed as a brave thinker who stands out from the noise of your competition.