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Yes, it’s the name of a popular television show, but it’s also an extremely important quality that salespeople need to have in today’s competitive marketplace.

X Factor, def: “A variable in a given situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome.”

What is the Sales X Factor?

Your Sales X factor is that variable that gives you a significant advantage over the competition. In customer-facing events like presentations and demos, it is often the ability to:

  • Quickly connect your solution to your prospect’s unique challenges
  • Structure your message in a compelling and memorable way
  • Deliver your message in a way that wins the minds and hearts of your audience and inspires them to take action

Why you need an X Factor

Each day your prospect navigates through a steady stream of vendor e-mails, voice mails, proposals, presentations, and demos. Each vendor claims to be the best. But product superiority alone is not enough. Many a salesperson has lost business to a lesser competitor. And with the differences between solutions getting smaller and smaller and new competitors continually entering the market, it’s foolhardy to count on it. While you may have the edge when it comes to one feature, your competitor may be slightly better when it comes to another.

Your prospect is like a busy casting director sifting through a parade of well-qualified actors all competing for the same role, all reading from the same script. It’s no surprise that prospects struggle to keep us straight! Decision-makers may not get together for days or weeks to discuss your proposal, and they are likely to see many other presentations in the meantime. How can you be certain that you and your message remain top-of-mind after you walk out the door? You need the X Factor!

The actor with the X Factor delivers more than just the right lines. He brings something unique to the part, leaves a lasting impression on the casting director. He sets the bar for every competitor who comes after him, and pushes everyone who came before out of mind. Weeks later when going through resumes, the casting director can say with great confidence, “We want him.” That’s the X Factor at work.

Like a great actor, prospects want that one salesperson to wow them, rise above the pack and make their decision an easy one so that they can “cast the part” and move on to their next project. The X Factor can help you by being that variable that makes a significant impact in the outcome of the sale.

The following quiz will help you find out what your Sales X Factor is — and how to increase it!

What’s Your Sales X Factor? (Answer: Yes or No)

  1. I spend time not just preparing the content of my presentation, but preparing mentally, physically and vocally to deliver it with impact.
  2. I have updated my presentation style to gain and hold the attention of today’s busy decision-makers.
  3. I leverage the art of storytelling to establish an emotional connection with my audience.
  4. I know how to keep my audience engaged to increase recall.
  5. I have a winning strategy for opening and closing my presentation that makes my message “sticky.”


5 Yes’s: Congratulations! Your Sales X Factor is sky high! But don’t get too comfortable, the competition is right behind you. Continue to stretch yourself by finding new ways to connect with your audience.

4 Yes’s: Nice work! What is the one area you are not leveraging? Explore ways to include it into your repertoire and reach your full potential.

1-3 Yes’s: You are at risk of not being remembered. Pick one of the areas above that will have the greatest immediate impact. For example, perhaps you haven’t changed your presentation style since the 80’s. Start by updating your presentation to connect with today’s buyers.

0 Yes’s: Danger! Why work so hard chasing a lead, developing a strategy and getting an appointment — only to be forgotten when the buying decision is actually made? Start working on your X Factor by reviewing the resource links in the 5 questions above.

If you want to be memorable, you can’t do what everyone else does. After all, they can’t buy from you if they can’t remember you.