If you’re a sales professional or someone who is planning to make it BIG in the sales domain, one of the first skills that you need to master is the art of selling against the competition. A sales rep who is comfortable with competitive selling has much more earning potential in the long run.
The competition is intense in the sales domain, and learning how to deal with it will help you close more sales deals. Here, we’ve come up with some tried and tested strategies to help you get versed with competitive sales.
So, let’s get started.
What is competitive selling and how should you approach it?
Competitive selling is all about developing a sales approach that helps you defeat the competition in the long run. No matter what industry you’re operating in, there are always some competitors who’re closing more sales deals. To survive in this extremely competitive environment, you need some effective sales approaches.
Any prospect will evaluate your offerings with that of your rivals before making their purchase decisions. So, when your sales reps interact with your prospects, one of the most certain questions that they will come across is - “How are you better than your competitors?”
So, if selling against the brand is your ultimate motive, it is always better to train your prospects with such questions. Sales reps often try to approach the above question in any one of the following ways:
- Attack the competitors and say mean things about them.
- Ignore the question completely.
But, trust us when we say that neither of these approaches is right to handle this situation. Your competitors deserve respect. In fact, if you say offensive things about your competitors, that could create a negative impact for your brand in the prospects' minds. So, the art of competitive selling is to approach any such question smartly, without being disrespectful.
In the next section, we’ll explain some winning sales strategies to beat the competition.
4 Winning Strategies for Competitive Selling
Here are some not-so-obvious sales strategies that can work for you if you’re trying to sell against the competition:
- Know your competitors, inside out
- Find out a prospect’s expectations from your competitors
- Leverage your brand image and past success
- Even if you lose to your competitors, take it as a lesson
1. Know your competitors, inside out
When your prospect asks about a competitor, you should never respond with “I have never heard of them”. Such a response will likely make your customers feel like your sales reps are uninformed. Always do your research before any sales call to ensure that you have all the information on your competitors.
Research your strongest competitors— their background, their offerings, their product features, pricing plans, and any other relevant information that could come up during a prospect call. Once you have all this information, you can easily find out where your competitors are missing out and how you can highlight your value proposition to stay ahead of the competition. But again, don’t forget to stay respectful while highlighting your competitors’ drawbacks.
2. Find out a prospect’s expectations from your competitors
Whenever a prospect mentions a particular competitor, ask questions. Asking questions will help you understand the prospects’ expectations from your competitors. A seller in a competitive market should always be aware of the prospects’ expectations from their rivals before pitching their own products and services.
Here are some aspects to assess regarding your prospect’s expectations from your competitors:
- Is the prospect in favor of the competitor’s products and services? If yes, which ones?
- Is the prospect aware of the competitor’s disadvantages?
- How close is the prospect to buying from the competitors? Is there any possibility to alter their decision?
- Does the prospect perceive any drawbacks in the competitor? Can you leverage them in your favor?
If the sales reps can find these answers during a sales call, competitive sales can become much easier for you.
3. Leverage your brand image and past success
During a sales call, reps often point to pricing to convince the prospects that they’re a better alternative to their competitor. While that may work sometimes, we don’t recommend that strategy every time. Remember that prospects don’t always make their purchase decisions based on cost and discounts. Also, if you keep offering discounts to improve competitive selling, you may end up compromising your overall revenue.
Your sales reps should try to leverage your brand image and success stories to grab the customer’s attention. Reps should talk passionately about your brand, your past achievements, etc. This way, you’ll give the prospects some reasons to believe in your brand and its capabilities. In fact, you can win more sales deals in this way, without compromising on your revenue.
4. Even if you lose to your competitors, take it as a lesson
Winning and losing is part of life. What’s important are the key lessons that you take away from this failure. So, even though a prospect says, “No thanks! We’re buying from your competitor X”, you need to keep the doors open. You can always respond to this statement as “That’s great! If you ever face any inconveniences, don’t forget to contact us. We’ll be happy to serve you.” Keep the doors to the relationship wide open.
In some cases, your sales reps can even initiate a follow-up with these prospects after a month or so to understand their experiences with your competitors. If you can find even a pinch of inconvenience, you should be ready with your sales pitch.
How to sell against competitors who are working remotely?
There are few location restrictions in today’s dynamic world. What if you want to enter a remote market? In that case, you need to master competitive sales skills to beat the competitors working remotely.
Here are some strategies to start with:
1. Change your sales messaging
When you’re competing with remote competitors, you need to approach it the right way. Your existing sales messaging may or may not translate in a remote context. So, it is always better to change or modify your sales messaging depending upon the target market and the changed situation.
Always remember that your remote competitors are already a step ahead of you in the remote markets. You can’t take their positions right away with hard-selling messages. The best way is to understand the market, the prospects, and their expectations. Once all these are clear, you can start pitching.
2. Host remote meetings regularly
Since one-on-one meetings don’t really work in this case, you need to ensure that your sales reps are getting into remote meetings regularly. These remote meetings can help you understand your prospects better, learn their expectations from the competitors and develop sales pitches that can work in your favor.
3. Use creative tools to stay connected
Winning sales deals in a remote market is not easy. If you can’t be physically present in that industry, you need to invest in the right tools so that it seems that you’re always present virtually to ace the competition.
Here’re some types of tools that you MUST invest in:
- A Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool to track your leads, customers, and remote competitors’ activities.
- Conversational Intelligence tools like Real time Sales Intelligence platforms, AI chatbots, etc. to engage with the leads 24/7
- Virtual event platforms to connect with the prospects anywhere, anytime, and discuss their requirements.
Ace Competitive Selling with Salesken
Salesken is your go-to software if you’re planning to win more sales deals through competitive selling. Salesken helps you analyze every sales call to highlight customers’ intent, objections, needs, and expectations.
Hence, you can easily guide your reps in the right direction and convert more leads. So what are you waiting for? Book your demo now!