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4 ways sales reps can stand out from the competition

4 ways sales reps can stand out from the competition

Emőke Csoma
March 16, 2022

Being in sales is tough. You know the drill: always be a few steps ahead of everyone else (including yourself) and be your best self even when you’re having an awful day. 

You need to focus on so many things to succeed in sales. You have to stand out from the crowd to be seen and heard, reach out to as many prospects as possible, deliver value, and build trust. And repeat.

While this plethora of tasks may seem daunting, the good news is that you can control what you focus on and make all this happen. 

To get you on the right track and help you smash your quotas, we collected some valuable expert tips to not only survive but thrive in the jungle of sales. 

Getting noticed is hard, and booking meetings is challenging. So many platforms, so little time! With the world moving online and sales processes increasingly taking place on digital platforms, making yourself heard and seen is not getting any easier.

Inboxes are getting cluttered with messages. 76% of sales emails never get opened.

You have to put yourself in the buyers’ inbox, take a step back and imagine you’re on the receiving end of the email. 

The digital jungle offers a lot of advantages but also a lot of distractions. While reaching out might be easier than ever, standing out is a problem many salespeople struggle with. 

Buyers notice when you’re genuinely having a good time. It makes your reactions more authentic, makes the job more fun, and yields better results. Sales processes can be pretty tedious, so showing just a little more of your personality and getting a little creative when you’re doing outreach and follow-up can make a huge difference.

Okay, so standing out is critical. But HOW are you supposed to accomplish that?

1. Be personal, be authentic, be yourself

There are many stereotypes of what makes a great sales rep. You know, the extroverted, loud smooth talker with impenetrable confidence? 

GetAccept Sales Director Jason Baskaran believes that not every salesperson needs to be super confident. Some of the best reps are the quiet ones, those who know how to listen, and it’s profound when they talk. 

According to an analysis, top sales performers have a talk-to-listen ratio of 43:57. 

Your behavior also needs to match your brand and what you represent from the very first contact with the prospect. No one likes a liar or a fake so being authentic is essential. 

Salesloft Account Executive Charlotte Johnson recommends doing a little research and using something personal to stand out. Ditch jargony terms like “We’re going to 10x your ROI.” When she found out that one of her prospects loves hot dogs, her subject line ended up being “Hot dogs and hiring SDRs.” 

Charlotte Johnson - SalesLoft

Think about a cluttered inbox and figure out what subject line would stand out to you. How could you structure your message simply?

Charlotte’s favorite examples of outreach are the messages that are not too serious and fun because taking an hour of someone’s time to show them a demo can be too much.

This type of outreach stands out because it’s just you being human and being yourself instead of a sales robot, trying to take up people’s time and pushing your agenda like a broken record.

Take your research to the next level. You don’t want to use that first piece of information you find in your prospect’s bio on LinkedIn. 

Try to think about what everyone else will use as their personalization. How could you be more creative than that? Try to understand their business, their products, and their potential customers. A quick Google of their name goes a long way.

2. Video is the new king of content

Let’s say your subject line is the most creative subject line ever written in the history of sales, and your prospect has opened your email. They face an intimidating wall of text and head for the Delete button. This is precisely the opposite of what you want them to do, right? 

Given today’s overload of information, relatively small mobile screens, and seriously reduced attention spans, the shorter your message, the better. But what’s better than a brief email? Surprise, surprise: no email! 

It’s best to skip the boring emails and jam-packed presentations. Stand out in your prospect’s inbox with a video instead! While inboxes are cluttered with written sales pitches, a new era has started with audio and video messages. 

Video not only humanizes your sales strategy but also helps you cut through the digital clutter — Vidyard, a video platform that helps businesses, witnessed 5x higher open rates and 8x higher open-to-reply rates

Vidyard - higher open rates with video

Video is an incredibly potent and versatile tool, and the results speak for themselves.

According to social selling expert Daniel Disney, any salesperson willing to learn and grow confident in creating videos will succeed above their peers significantly.

Do you want to be one of the sales video pioneers? Before you hit the record button, get started with Charlotte’s best tips for video prospecting:

  • Share your screen to make it more engaging.
  • Whatever you’re talking about, share the process and show the prospect what you’ve been looking at.
  • Don’t talk about your company or yourself; make it about your prospect and their company.
  • Keep the video as short and to the point as possible, under a minute but ideally around 45 seconds.
  • Have a simple structure, don’t ramble on, and don’t be pushy.
  • Keep testing and iterating.
  • It doesn’t need to be perfect, just do it and have fun!

If you think that recording a video takes an awful lot of time and effort, you’re not alone. Many are afraid to use video. But you know what? Sometimes it can be quicker to record a video than write an email.

You may spill drinks, stumble over your words or call them by the wrong name. Continue correcting yourself. The mistakes make it more human.

 

3. Do things crazy differently

During sales calls and outreach, salespeople often talk about how amazing their products are and how they differentiate themselves from the competition. 

It’s easy to be too focused on the what and forget how to deliver the messages to make an impact. 

Creativity doesn’t come naturally to everyone. 

It’s easy to see all the magnificent content others are doing and get frustrated, especially when you feel stuck and uninspired. 

You know that you should put yourself out there, allow yourself to be vulnerable, get innovative with recording videos, and do crazy stuff… but have no idea how to start. 

There’s only one way to get started: by doing it. Jason compares creativity in sales to bungee jumping or skydiving. You just have to leap! 

If you think your voice is funny or you’re not happy with how you look on camera, do it anyway. It’s not going to hurt, and the result you get out of it will be fulfilling and inspiring. It’s a fantastic feeling to step into the unknown. 

Here are some crazy different approaches to draw inspiration from:

  • The “Alien Abduction” email. Jason’s fresh take on a sensational outreach! If he’s getting ghosted by a prospect or a customer, he sends an email with the subject line: “Have you been abducted by aliens? 👽👽👽” In the email, there’s a photoshopped picture of an alien spaceship abducting the person he’s trying to reach out to. Above the spacecraft, in big red letters: “I CAN SAVE YOU!” and “I think you’ve been abducted by aliens, but if you haven’t, I’d love to hear from you!” If they click the photo, they get to his calendar. Jason experienced a 100% response rate – and at least half of them booked a meeting.
  • Personalized music videos. This one’s not for the faint-hearted! Former Dooly Account Executive Ryan Scalera released personalized music videos on LinkedIn to get a meeting with the right person. When he went after a company, he knew that they were active and outspoken on LinkedIn. So he recorded a cover of Chamillionaire’s Ridin', posted it on LinkedIn, and tagged them in it. The meeting request was not only accepted, but the company publicly applauded his outreach.
  • Sending an e-gift. Charlotte uses Reachdesk as part of her prospecting strategy. Reachdesk is a direct mail and corporate gifting software platform for B2B companies, and it can take your video or email outreach to the next level. When you’re sending a video to your prospect, you can just add a friendly message such as “I can imagine your inbox is drowned right now and wanted to send you a coffee in case you fancy sipping on something while watching this video.”

Jason Baskaran Quote

4. Build your personal brand

Those who understand the importance of personal branding know that it’s one of the best ways to stand out from the crowd. When you develop your brand, you take the impersonal to the personal, the random to the relatable. The human element is a game-changer. 

You just need to find the right platform to play the game. 

Every sales rep is different, and everybody has their preferences. You should be allowed to take some time to discover whether you enjoy recording podcasts, doing a webinar, or videos for LinkedIn. 

lemlist Head of Business Development Nadja Komnenic recommends that you don’t wait until you’re ready or until you know what to post because that moment will never come. Start posting, and don’t be scared about what people will think. Otherwise, you’ll never know what benefits it could bring to you, and you’ll simply miss out on a massive opportunity.

If you’re not confident enough to post on social media, there are other ways to get started. Start by commenting on other people’s posts, communicate and build your network simultaneously. Getting yourself out there will not only help you with your current job, but it’ll also boost your future career. 

And don’t forget that finding your voice and feeling comfortable is the most important. When you enjoy something you do, you’ll highly likely do a fantastic job. 

 

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