How to Stop Competing & Still Win New Business
Mostly all of us in sales have competitors, who quickly become the roadblocks and obstacles to winning new business. In some cases you will be competing head to head to win new business in sales, and in others you may be competing to take customers away from them. Our ability to win these head to head battles, and oust these existing vendors in the large accounts is therefore critical to our success. So how will stopping competing with your competition help you develop more business and hit your sales targets? Well try these two simple yet proven sales strategies and let us know if they work for you.
When we compete to win new business head to head with our competitors, in order to win we need the buyer to see the points of difference in our products/services that have a value to them. There may even be situations where your competition are stronger than you and have every right to win the business – competing when the odds are stacked against you can be daunting.
Competing to win new business where the competition are already established.
Problem – Buyers have to make a choice between the potential added value of an unproven or new supplier, and their current supplier, who may not be perfect but is nonetheless delivering some value. In addition the buyer may be fearful if they drop an existing supplier and things go wrong they won’t be able to get the previous supplier back. This choice represents a risk to the buyer, and this creates the buyers dilemma. Furthermore, if the existing supplier has embedded themselves thoroughly then there may be additional costs of the change, such as retraining staff on new systems and replacement of old stock. Some buyers automatically reduce their exposure to risk by having dual or multiple suppliers and asking to be considered for this will work in some scenarios, however in many situations such as ‘IT’ there is only ever a sole supplier engaged. Asking to be the backup supplier just in case the current vendor makes a mistake won’t help you hit your sales targets in our experience.
Solution – Don’t compete head to head because you are forcing the buyer to choose between you and the competition. Don’t even try and sell them the same product or service that your competition supply. Instead your lead offer should be a complimentary product/service that your competitors do not provide. Removing the need for the Buyer to choose between you and the competition makes it easier for them to use you. Of course once you have made the first sales, and proven your reliability and value then you can start to expand your offering.
Competing to win new business head to head with your competition.
Problem – When we compete for business head to head with our competitors, in order to win we need the buyer to see the points of difference in our products/services that have a value to them. There may even be situations where your competition are stronger than you and have every right to win the business – competing when the odds are stacked against you can be daunting. In some cases, with software for example, the Feature and Function comparisons are very similar, even the pricing is similar and it’s difficult for buyers to choose.
Solution – Stop competing head to head, and move the buyers goal posts. What this means is, by using advanced questioning techniques you can help the buyer discover different ways of solving the same problems. These questions then lead the buyer away from their original buying criteria which may have favoured your competition, and on to develop new criteria that positions your products/services more favourably. Often the buyers won’t even discuss the new criteria with your competition, as they still see them aligned with the old criteria and doubt their ability to deliver against the new criteria.
To win new business in sales what’s vital for either of these strategies to be successful, comes down to two things. Firstly, these strategies have to be planned, prepared and practised well in advance. Trying to do this “on the hoof” is a recipe for disaster and will not only fail but leave the buyer totally confused. Secondly, it’s crucial for sales people to have a thorough understanding of the buyers situation and the competitions strategy, in order that they can recognise when a different sales strategy will be more productive. Interested, then schedule a call with one of our consultants and we can talk through if this is appropriate for your business.
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