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 user 2003-12-03 at 9:50:00 am Views: 123
  • #8068

    Bashing the Competition Does Not Get Business

    by Emily Huling as featured in ‘Sales Caffeine’ by Jeff Gitomer of http://www.gitomer.com

    Has either of these scenarios happened to you?

    You’ve learned from your customer just what you have suspected – your competition is engaging in rival- bashing to win the order and you are the target! Or your customer uses a negotiating strategy which tests your professionalism. They play your offer, point by point, off your competitor’s proposal to get concessions on price, product, or both.

    In either case, you may want to speak ill of the competition to get your order, but you must resist! Unkind words make a salesperson look bad. Instead, a true pro comes from a position of power and knowledge to win the trust of the customer and eventually the order.

    Here are steps to take to turn the situation around without bashing the competition.

  • Where did your customer get the information? Confirm the facts that are being given to your customer. Ask for his or her source. Once you have determined the accuracy or inaccuracy of the information, you can respond. If a misunderstanding exists, clear up the confusion with the proper data. If your customer’s objections are accurate, explain the reasons why as well as your value to the customer’s organization.
  • Know your competition. Keep an ongoing list of your major competitors and what products, pricing, and marketing strategies they are currently using. Your best customers will help keep your list current if you ask them. Armed with this information, without speaking against your competitor, you can respond by giving the strengths of your organization, keeping in mind what you know about the competition.
  • “What our customers tell us… One of the best ways to diffuse a vicious attack is to refer to those who you know you best. For example, if a customer says he hears your repair turnaround time is slow, tell him, “Our customers tell us our repair department correctly troubleshoots their problem and gets them up and running in minimal time.” There is no better way to stop the rumors than by giving actual examples.
  • Have written testimonials from satisfied customers. One step better than the verbal “our customers tell us…is having a written letter which sings your praises. Make sure each testimonial is written to specifically point out the significant contribution your firm made to the buying organization. Keep your testimonials current. The best ones have a date no less than one year old. How do you get a testimonial letter? Ask for one.
  • Show them your stuff. Let your products and services speak for themselves. Through actual on-site demonstrations or leaving the product with them for testing, your customer can have a hands-on experience of what they are buying. Invite your customer to your facility to see the product in operation. Oftentimes current customers are willing to open their doors to your prospects to let them see how your product functions.

    Competitors who use unprofessional practices to sell business will do themselves out of business before too long. Using your strengths and abilities to highlight why someone should buy from you is always the best way to gain new customers.

    Emily Huling, CIC, CMC, helps businesses achieve excellence in, sales, customer service, and leadership. She’s the author of Kick Your “But” 18 Steps to Removing the Obstacles to Sales Success.