At an early age you probably learned this social rule:
Don’t talk badly about other people.
Perhaps you learned this from your parents, other kids, your teachers, or some combination of them all. It doesn’t really matter.
When you grew up and found yourself in sales, you brought this social rule with you to the game.
And that can be a problem for some sales people.
It can be a problem because in sales you have to compete.
And you if you are going to compete well and compete aggressively, at some point you are going to have to win the fight with yourself about this rule of not talking badly about other people.
You see you must know your competition.
You must know who you compete against the most.
You must know how they try to win, and how they will attack you.
You must know what issues they win on and what issues they lose on.
You must know details like how price things, and which products do they bundle into their proposals.
You must know things like who their best customers are and what success stories they will be telling your prospects about their best customers.
You need to know things like what will they typically do when they find out they’re losing a sale:
- Do they come back in and low-ball the deal?
- Does their President make a call to try and save the deal?
Knowing who your competition is and what they will do comes first.
But then you have to be willing to use this information.
You have to be willing to tell your prospect what is going to happen.
This is called prediction.
Prediction can be deadly.
Prediction can be deadly because you can land a blow that your competition is unable to recover from if you predict what they will do or say before they do it.
One of the best ways to do this is to frame the issues up-front in the sale.
Once you’ve done a good job of probing for pain, wants and needs, you should be positioning how you best meet their pains, wants and needs. And you should be positioning how your competitor is a lesser option for them and why.
You don’t even have to mention your competitors by name when you do this (which helps you avoid the feeling that you are talking badly about someone else).
You can simply say something like:
Some companies do things this one way, while we have chosen to do things another way. Here are the reasons why we did things our different way…
By getting out in front in this manner, you frame the issues of the sale, without telling your prospect which competitors of yours to look at.
And then when your competition does come in and talk about what they perceive to be their advantages, the impact has been blunted because you have already put in your spin on what is better.
Now I know that your prospects aren’t stupid, and they won’t just blindly believe anything you tell them.
But people are much more open-minded at the beginning of their product investigation process.
And if you get in their first, and position yourself and your competitors carefully and accurately, you’ll have a much better shot at winning the sale.