Best Ways to Meet, Beat the
Our research shows that when most salespeople lose a deal, they simply say their prices were too high. Rarely have we heard that they were “outsold” by a competitor or outmaneuvered by a Web communications provider. Great salespeople minimize the product and company deficiencies of their products and services by using great selling skills and competitive strategies. Here are the steps that great salespeople use to meet and beat competitors:
- Know the customer and their customers
Sales always starts with what is important to the customer, how they define success, what value can the print services provider provide and who really makes the decisions
- Identify current and potential competitors
Research the industry, look for signs, look for competitors in disguise, and talk to customers to know all potential competitors. Understand how they will position themselves and what you must do to overcome or minimize their advantages
- Create your solutions, your company, and your personal value propositions
Determine and effectively convey, for each and every customer, what value your offerings, your company, and you bring to that customer. Make sure your solutions and value proposition are specifically tailored to each customer
- Be ready and prepared for everything
Be prepared with statements, proof sources, samples, references, and industry data to combat traditional and nontraditional communications competition
- Never criticize or trash the competition
Avoid direct conflict. Never knock the competitor’s product or service. If you knock the competitor, you are knocking the customer’s judgment. Focus on issues and not people.
If and when you are confronted unexpectedly with a competitive challenge, the best strategy is to remain calm and confident. Do not get flustered. Simply acknowledge the competition and use open-ended questions to gain as much information as you can. If it becomes clear you will lose to a competitor, be gracious and leave the door open for the future.
Knowing strengths and weaknesses of the current and potential competition, in all accounts, is a major predictor of success for printing salespeople. Building deeper relationships with customers and keeping informed on communication trends and technology is vital.
Selling in today’s environment against competition can be a battle. Another passage from Sun Tzu in The Art of War makes the process perfectly clear:
“Carefully compare the opposing army with your own, so that you may know where strength is super abundant and where it is deficient.”