What Makes You Different From Your Competitors?

Overcoming Sales Competition

You’re sitting in a conference room. You’re at a table with a prospective client, and a few members from their organization. You’ve prepared for this meeting. You’ve brushed up on their company, you’ve created your presentation, and you’re confident it will be effective. You have positioned your pricing at a fair market value. You have customized your solution to meet their needs. And, you have established good rapport with them, through previous meetings or conversations.

The presentation is going smoothly. Your prospective client likes what you have to offer, and they’re engaged in conversation with you around it. You’re feeling like a rock star when, suddenly, you’re hit with the question “Why should we go with you, instead of your competition?” Or, “What makes you different than your competitor?”

The prospect has asked you a clear question. So, you answer.

Most of us, at some point, have jumped with two feet straight in to the ocean of our features and benefits in response to this question. Yet, how many times have you responded to that question by explaining how great you and your company are, how much better you implement a process, how much more reliable you are, or how much better your quality is, and lost? Why aren’t your services and products selected immediately upon giving your prospects the answer they were looking for? Here’s a thought: Any chance your sales competition is saying anything different than you are? It’s very unlikely that they are entering the same proposal review meeting you are, and saying they’re the worst. When your competition is faced with the same question of what makes them different, they also answer with their wonderful features and benefits. They’re saying EXACTLY what you are. And that, is not different.

Engage, Don't Convince

You cannot convince anyone of anything. I know, I know, you’re offended. You nailed your persuasive speech in high school. You watched every episode of “Mad Men”, and you’re basically Don Draper. Let’s investigate! Take a break from reading this blog. Go to your nearest coffee shop, and convince a stranger to fall in love with you. Don’t do that if you’re married. Instead, convince a stranger to give you all the cash in their wallet. No cash? Settle for a credit card. Come on, Girl Scouts can do this. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Assuming you’ve just returned from your journey with a new soul mate, or cash in hand, what was your approach? Did you explain to that person why you are such a great human being? How great you are at communication? Why you are worthy of their money? While I’m sure you are all those things, none of them are convincing to someone that does not know you, or has not engaged with you on a personal level. Trying to convince your prospective client you are better than another company, if they have no experience with you, has the same outcome.

Think of the last conversation you had, when you felt you bonded with another individual. That exchange could have taken place anywhere, with anyone. Chances are, you did not sit in silence while listening to them tell you every single wonderful thing about themselves. They probably didn’t have a PowerPoint slide with a depiction of all their greatest assets and characteristics. It is more likely that they were curious about your thoughts or feelings, beliefs or opinions, and were engaged with you in a way that made you feel valued. When we feel valued, we are energized. Alternatively, when we as sales people fail to engage our clients on a level that makes them feel valued, we appear disingenuous.

Be Different

Remember, selling is not order taking. If you want to be different than your sales competition, do not go in to justifying, explaining, and defending your differences. Just BE different.

Ask your prospective client what differences matter to them. Ask them what is important to them. Find out what their perceived risks are around hiring someone they haven’t worked with in the past. Are they afraid of change? Are they worried about making the wrong decision? Help them see how valued they are, by concerning yourself with their best interest. Go down a path with them that will help them make the decision that is best for them, not you.

You cannot convince anyone you are different from your competitors by telling them that you are; you can only convince them by showing them that you are.

Interested in Learning More About Overcoming Sales Competition? Take a look at this video that talks about overcoming sales objections just like those mentioned above.

Ready to take the next step towards becoming a better salesperson? Contact a Lushin Consultant today!

Emily Shaw

Connect with Emily Shaw

For 25 years, Lushin has guided business leaders toward intentional, predictable growth.

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