Blog Article

Challenging Sacred Cows - "Don't Knock The Competition"

In a previous post we spoke about a critical aspect of the changing sales landscape, the disconnection in most industries between the buying and selling processes.

In summary, potential customers used to engage with salespeople at the start of the buying process to understand options and what was available in the marketplace. Salespeople were, therefore, educated to discuss and identify needs and position their products and services in terms of the benefits to the customer.

In today’s market, potential customers are able to use the internet and other tools to do their research, identify potential suppliers and create a ‘shortlist’ of those they feel might be the right supplier for them. This research often means the customer is better informed about the market and potential suppliers than the salesperson.

When salespeople are trained to believe they should not ‘knock the competition’, this invariably means they develop limited knowledge of their own market and the key players in it.

To be able to win business from the competition, salespeople must understand:

  • The main competitors and their strategy
  • The competitors key points of difference
  • Their own key points of difference
  • The competitors pricing and value proposition

This recent phenomenon is particularly true of mass market and commoditised items. Those selling cars need to move from, ‘let me show tell you about the vehicle’, to ‘let me explain the differences between our dealership and the others you may be talking to’. Those selling computers have a similar challenge. Increasingly, our research is finding that customers know what they want – the decision they are making is, why you?

If your salespeople are not comfortable in objectively debating their points of differentiation versus the competition then they will capture significantly less business.


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