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5 Steps to Competitive Differentiation - Part 3

There's no such thing as a dried-up pipeline. New business is out there, just waiting for you to develop it.

But when's the last time you looked in a new place for a sales lead? How often do you sell something to a prospect that everyone else overlooked? Are you going back to the same well over and over again?

To grow your business and increase your sales, you need to stop selling and start leading.

One of The Five Practices of Exemplary Leaders® is to Challenge the Process. Leaders who effectively challenge the process are able to innovate and experiment. They start by developing outsight. Unlike insight (looking closely and deeply at something nearby), outsight focuses looking outward or away from what's close to you.

With outsight, you can see things you haven't seen before. You can be inspired to think in new and different ways about what is already familiar. You can learn and originate. You will be thinking outside the box.

OutsightThis is what leaders do. Without innovation and experimentation, leaders understand that where they are is where they will always be... only going backwards as they stand in place because others are innovating and leapfrogging ahead of them.

This is what sellers should do, too. Your buyers expect no less. They want new ideas and original thought. They are constantly wondering what's new, what's next, what's better. In order to answer those questions and create exciting solutions for them, you'll need to develop outsight.

When you do, you'll be differentiating yourself from other sellers who over-rely on the same old sales pitch, the same recitations of features and benefits, the same tactics for reducing price to reel in the business. You will be creating value when you bring fresh ideas to the table. You'll be leading your buyers to the places they've been waiting for someone to take them.

Try these five techniques to condition yourself for outsight:

  • Scan a trade journal from an industry you are not familiar with. As you flip through the pages, ask yourself "What's here that could be useful to my customers?"
  • Observe your client or the end-user as they use your product or service. What is easy and pleasant in their experience? What isn't?
  • Ask your buyer (or their colleagues) questions about what other sellers do, particularly the ones outside your industry. For example, if you sell medical devices to hospitals, ask what it's like to purchase food for the cafeteria and food service to patients.
  • Stretch yourself to better understand some sales approach you don't agree with. Go outside your own company or industry to read books and blogs by noted sales authors, speakers or trainers.
  • Put yourself in your buyer's shoes. What's it like to do their job? What influences their decisions?

This is what effective leaders do to generate new ideas and to continually seek out new solutions. If you're in a rut, looking at and thinking about the same things day after day, then liberate the leader within and develop outsight.

The CONNECT2Sell Blog has been discontinued as our focus has shifted to leadership at every level. Research with buyers demonstrates that buyers respond favorably when sellers show up as leaders. If you'd like to step into your full potential as a leader (and boost sales!), take a look at our free and affordable courses on