“Competition is healthy.”
“There’s plenty of room for everyone!”
Huh? Who ever said that? No one from New Jersey.
The truth is most people would rather see their competition die, or at least go out of business and never be heard from again.
Here's the challenge: How does a salesperson address the issue of the competition in these times? I wrote about it in "The Sales Bible" in 1994, revised it in 2002 and revised it again in 2008’s new edition. But that was before the bottom fell out of the economy.
Here's the reality: Sales are down for everyone, and there are fewer prospects for new sales. Consequently the hunt for more sales, new sales and especially take-away sales has intensified. You can no longer afford to “lose one on price” and move to the next. The one you lost may be the only one this week or this month.
Here's the gross reality: You must know that your competition is having a meeting across town right now. They’re planning to cut their prices, steal your customers and bury you. They’re gunning for your best customers.
It’s a war. Fought battle by battle. Customer by customer. Action by action. Until the last salesman or saleswoman is standing. You’re the warrior. Winner take all.
The sales weapons to deploy in your competitive war are:
• Value offered in terms of the customer
• Proven differentiation between you and others
• A quality standard that includes the word "best"
• Memorable service
• Technology. Be the highest.
• Web presence. Be the best.
• Timely/rapid response. Be the fastest.
• Friendly people. Be the friendliest.
• Availability. 24/7/365 is the minimum acceptable standard.
• Knowledgeable people. The most knowledgeable.
• Helpful people. The most helpful.
• Reputation in the marketplace or community. The best reputation. A long track record of success.
• Existing customers who speak on your behalf. Note: They’re the ones that create your reputation.
• Oh yeah, sometimes price.
And here are the strategies to master:
Speak kindly of your competition, or say nothing.
Respect them, and others will respect you.
If others speak negatively, do not join in.
Know their weaknesses but focus on your strength and value.
Know why they won, when you should have.
Know how they speak about you, and build response into your presentation.
Know how to beat them until they hate you.
Your victory is when you get the order.
What you say, and the way you say it, weighs heavily in the competitive wars. Here are some clues: