Do You Know Who the Competition is?

Are you selling against a competitor? Or is another factor holding back your prospect’s final decision? It’s important to find out exactly what’s going on behind closed doors at the account. Then, use the strategy suggested by Victor Cheng to save the sale.

In a post for CaseInterview, Cheng describes how sales reps often assume that prospects are not buying from them because they are working with a competitor.  All too often, Cheng says, sales reps focus their phrasing and marketing collateral on how they stack up against the competitor down the street or the competitor operating online in the same market space. The problem is, your prospect might not even have the competition on their radar.

At many prospect sites, management may be considering other options. These options range from doing it themselves to doing nothing at all.  As you talk with your prospects, find out what they are thinking. If they’ve got an in-​house expert they believe can deliver a solution that’s similar to yours, try to discover how the strengths and weaknesses of that solution compare to yours. In many cases, it will be more expensive for them to solve the problem than for you – the expert in the field.

A similar line of thinking can be applied to the option of doing nothing. Make the client understand that by doing nothing they are taking risks. Depending on the specific situation, these risks range from failing to comply with the law to falling behind while their competitors gain more market share. Make sure your marketing collateral also speaks to the pitfalls of taking a DIY approach or failing to take action.

As Cheng advises, don't assume you're up against your chief competitor when you're working with prospects. Once you understand that you could lose a prospect because of other actions he or she may take, your selling approach will become more well-​rounded and successful.

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.