OK, So You’ve Got Competition?

February 28, 2009 by  Filed under: Sales 

Competition is a good thing. It keeps you honest, professional and requires continual learning to overcome the strategies, techniques and approaches used by organizations that are trying to take your business or where you are trying to win new business from them.

Too often I hear salespeople complaining about the competition and their “low ball” pricing, less than honest approaches or simply their better products or services and ability to compete successfully in a competitive market place.

If you have honest and worthy competition this force you to maintain better sales strategies, more relevant products and services and a more professional approach to the sales process. So stop whining if you are in this club and get better, wiser and more competent. There are any number of things you can do when you face stiff competition in your market or territory. I will list a few for your consideration.

1) Learn everything you can about your competition; their strengths, weaknesses, philosophies, strategies, overall customer satisfaction or lack of it, market positioning approaches, management tactics, sales representative’s tendencies, challenges, shortcomings and ethics, corporate pricing, market and advertising strategies, loopholes in their products or services, reasons for client or customer lack of loyalty and anything you can learn that helps you better position yourself and your organization in competitive situations.

2) Learn everything, and I mean everything about your own organization. I can’t tell you how many salespeople I have talked with, coached or interviewed whose lack of knowledge of their own products, services, approaches or strategies was sorely lacking. If you don’t know what you are selling and why and how, you will never successfully beat the competition no matter how strong or weak they are.

3) Make sure you are always dealing with key decision makers or economic buyers. Too often salespeople hope and wish that tire bottom-up contact will eventually lead to a sale. Yes, once in a lifetime it can happen but I’ll tell you even if and when it does it could take years. If you don’t have the skills, self-esteem, ability or confidence to call at the highest levels in your prospect’s organization – get them.

4) Keep control of the sales process. Typically, in “bidding” situations this is nothing more than an exchange of paperwork. Most salespeople when asked to bid just throw their credentials, experience and price into this deep dark hole and than pray. Well, let me tell you, prayer is a good thing, but it isn’t going to close sales for you. Losing control of the sales process to a competitor for any reason is a sure sign that they know how to sell better than you do.

5) Get better at selling. When was the last time you attended a sales training seminar? Read a good sales book? Listened to a sales CD? Want to sell more and beat the competition? Keep getting better. And I don’t care how good you think you are or how long you have been selling. Want to sell more? Then keep improving, learning and growing. You can never know enough people skills, communication skills, sales skills and attitude control skills.

OK, so now it’s your turn. What can you do to consistently beat the competition without lowering price or begging for the business?

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