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BILL LEE: Always Put a Number to Your Service Claims

Differentiating your business to make the sale.

By: Bill Lee

Because virtually 100% of all sales-people claim to offer their customers outstanding service, I advocate that one way for salespeople to differentiate themselves from their competitors is by putting a number to their service claims.

I make this recommendation because to get a prospect’s favorable attention, one of the key challenges salespeople face is how to convince their prospects that they are more valuable than the prospect’s current supplier.

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In the absence of a measurement to differentiate what you can do for your customer from what the competition says it can do for the same customer, it’s extremely difficult to sell your advantage, regardless of how great your advantage is.

As an example, if you were to say to your customer, “Our on-time delivery service is nothing short of outstanding,” the odds are quite high your competitor’s salesperson used a very similar description to emphasize the quality of his delivery service. Let’s face it, few salespeople claim to offer crappy service.

I became sold on this approach to consultative selling when I read The Dollarization Discipline by Jeffery J. Fox and Richard C. Gregory. In their book, Fox and Gregory provide a written definition of “Dollarization.” It is stated as, “The translation of the benefit a product or service delivers to a customer into the dollar-and-cents financial impact to that customer.”

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The authors use a gallon of paint to illustrate their point. Brand A costs $12 a gallon and Brand B costs $20 a gallon. Which gallon of paint represents the best value for the customer? If the decision were strictly a matter of price, then the decision would be relatively easy to make, but there are some other factors to consider:

Labor factors

  • How long it takes to paint a room with Brand A versus Brand B?
  • Which brand is easiest and fastest to clean?


  • How long Brand A lasts compared to how long Brand B lasts before having to repaint?

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