The president of a company was frustrated with the poor sales traction he was getting out of his sales team. He told me they were getting the leads and the appointments. Yet when it came time to close the deal, invariably they found an unwelcome guest lurking about the prospect… their competition.
Frequently the competition would come in at the 11th hour and hijack the deal from my friend’s company. He summarized his sentiments with, “I feel like we could write a manual in how to sell our competition!” We both laughed, but I could tell he wasn’t happy about it.
It got me to think, how could someone help to sell his or her competition? Really, if they put their mind to it, how would it be done? I’ve seen it done unwittingly dozens of time, in sales situations around the globe. Perhaps there might be some wisdom garnered by shining a satirical light on the ways to help sell your competition. Here’s a funny but serious look at how I would coach you to help sell your competition, rather than your own solution.
First, I would be a generalist, be everything to everybody. Don’t try and be different, or claim any specific niche or expertise. If you’ve spent years developing specific features or traits to your product, do not plant your flag at the top of the mountain; instead wait for everyone else to arrive at the top with you and take a group picture, you and your competition… now isn’t that nice?
Second, be the one doing the talking; don’t let the prospect control the conversation. Try not to ask any questions, unless they are yes or no questions. Remember you have many features and functions about your solution you need to get out there for your buyer to choose from. Just assume you know your buyer’s problem, then spend most of the time telling them about your “solution.” In time, you might just wear them down so they buy from you.
Third, the more information you give the better. Obviously the buyer will buy the minute they hear the right solution, so you need to just keep carpet-bombing them with your feature-list and company information. Tell them all about your company, how many employees, number of offices with a map of the world, a slide with all your client logos, and don’t forget the executive pictures. Don’t talk about your unique features unless you mask them with a litany of less compelling features and functions. Throw as much up on the wall as possible and see what sticks.
Forth, impress your prospect with your technical expertise. Don’t try and solve their issues, it’s better if they know that you know your stuff. If they challenge you, push back; don’t let your prospect push you around. Remember, you’re the expert, not their servant. You may need to come down to your prospects level and teach them; never grovel or show your desire to serve them.
Finally, discount, discount, discount. If all else fails, lower your price. You buyer is more concerned about the price they pay than solving their problems. Value, especially, unique value, is over-rated. It’s just silly to think that someone would value quality over price when buying a car for his or her family; or someone choosing expertise over price when selecting a heart surgeon for their mother; or someone choosing location over price when selecting the neighborhood to build their dream home. The only thing that buyers care about is paying less for a product.
So there you have it, the best ways to help sell your competition.
- Be a generalist, don’t be an expert & try to be different
- Be the one doing the talking and don’t ask questions
- Carpet-bomb the buyer with information, don’t focus on your unique features
- Show-off your expertise, don’t worry about persuasion & service
- Discount, discount, discount is more important than trying to solve their problems
Now re-read this article and see if you can spot how you can spot what it take to outsell your competition, rather than helping sell your competition. Happy selling!