Talking about competitors with prospects is tricky. You need to tread carefully so that you don’t seem unprofessional, but you don’t want to sing their praises either. But, one thing is for certain: Competitors will come up at some point during a sales meeting. “Whether it’s the price you are charging or their needs to get different quotes, or many other reasons, it can be quite deflating when the competition is brought up in the sales meeting,” writes Sean McPheat, managing director at MTD Sales Training.
He goes on to share some tips on how to deal with different times a competitor comes up in discussion:
Competitors and Price
Often, a prospect will mention competitors while discussing pricing. Be prepared to talk about the competition without resorting to downgrading them or what they sell. If they do happen to have lower costs, focus the conversation on the value that you provide. Make it specific to the prospect for added impact. “Your research should tell you what you do better than the competitor, so focus on what those better things are,” McPheat writes. “If the customer simply wants cheap, then maybe you need to adjust your spec or even decide if this is the right customer for you.” So actually, this discussion can also serve as a great way to qualify the lead in addition to promoting your value.
Showcase YOUR ideas and expertise
As McPheat points out, “yes, they may have brought up the competitor, but who’s in front of them at this moment? Who has your rapt attention in this meeting? Who can share their expertise in the prospect’s situation right now?” YOU are the one in the spotlight, so use the opportunity to let the prospect know more about yourself and what you have to offer. Discuss how you can specifically help their business both now and in the future, being sure to cite particular challenges or areas of concern.
Along with the other tips, these suggestions can help you not panic when the name of a competitor pops up during a sales meeting. Use it as an opportunity to show your professionalism (by not bashing them) and why you are clearly a better choice. “If you’re able to overcome the main reasons for using the competition, you create a firm foundation for their business to be using your solutions rather than someone else’s,” says McPheat.