As sellers, we know that one of the keys to opening doors with new prospects lies in positioning our solutions as something different from the competition. In fact, sales and marketing departments spend a significant amount of time trying to determine exactly what their company's unique selling proposition is, and the best way to explain it to potential clients.

But is it possible there's more to the equation?

What many sales reps don't realize is that they have another competitive advantage, and one that no one else can match: their own skills, talents, and expertise.

There are some prospects you are uniquely suited to serve simply because of who you are and what you know.

Most often, this is because of experience you have solving problems for similar clients. For example, if you know all about the business and technical challenges a small doctor’s office encounters when trying to upgrade their phone system, then doesn't that make you more valuable to other companies who are in the same position?

Your history of having navigated similar situations makes you invaluable.

Think about it this way.

There are any number of business challenges that the majority of your customers might be facing now. They could be struggling with limited growth potential in their region, high turnover on their staff, or unreliable computer networks in key areas of their business.

Your prospects are probably struggling with the same issues.

The fact that you know and understand the impact of these problems on your prospects’ business means that you can help guide them in their analysis of their situation. You can offer insights for their consideration, and ultimately guide them toward better decisions.

But first you have to gain access, get past the cold call and prospecting email. You have to get the conversation started.

A lot of sales people rely on their unique selling proposition and begin a cold call or email by talking about solutions. They think that’s their value. But how do you know whether the solutions you're mentioning are the right ones for that specific prospect?

In reality, you can't be certain.

So, instead of going into what I call a "solutions dump," why not begin by discussing what you know best and they value most: the issues you suspect they’re grappling with and how you’ve seen other similar companies deal with them.

Leverage your expertise from the work you’ve done with customers just like your prospects.

It's a subtle change, but one that can make a big difference to your prospect – especially when he or she may not have figured out exactly how to approach a big hairy problem.

Let’s say that you’re prospecting into law firms. You have 4 other attorneys’ offices as customers and know that keeping their client information secure is critical to them. You’ve seen each office approach the issue a little differently and ultimately solve it by working with you.

You can probably talk all day long about the risk your customers felt, how they changed their business processes, how they raised employees’ awareness of their concerns, what they did to solve them and more. And if you have the information, you can even get specific and mention how similar law firms improved staff productivity by 8% or cut their computer network costs by 7%.

As you’re prospecting, your unique selling proposition isn’t a security solution. It’s your knowledge of how four other law firms solved the problem of keeping their client information secure.

Now your USP emphasizes your personal experience, making prospects want to speak with you. They’ll value the opportunity to tap into your expertise and help them figure out their ideal solution to the issue. And when you’re looking to separate yourself from the competition, your expertise and knowledge are the very best value your company has to offer.

Author's Bio: 

Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. Visit to download your free copy of the PowerProspecting Sales Kit valued at $216 and to subscribe to her newsletter. Follow her on Twitter at, on Facebook at, on LinkedIn at