Habits 38 & 39: Know Your Competition

May 18, 2017 Selling Comments Off on Habits 38 & 39: Know Your Competition

To continue with the “Account Development Habits”, let’s look at: Habits 38 & 39: Know Your Competition.

This should go without saying but I’m sorry to say that very few salespeople actually know anything about the competition. Understanding the competition needs to start with a list of competitors. Do you have a list of your competitors? If you don’t, you need to get one and you need to get it soon.

Once you have a list of your competitors, you need to list all the products and/or services that they supply and list your comparable product or service next to each of theirs. I suggest you build a matrix that compares your product and/or service to the competitors and also states clearly the “features” and corresponding “benefits” of your product and list the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. I call this matrix a “Product Profile.”

This information should not be based on speculation, but based on fact. It is sometimes difficult to get this type of information and it requires experienced people to compile it. No matter how difficult it is to get, it is necessary that you get it and that you fully understand the competition and their strengths and weaknesses.

Once you have a clear understanding of the competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, you should develop questions that you can ask prospective customers that will make the competitor’s weaknesses apparent. Stating a competitor’s weaknesses in the form of a question without saying anything negative about the competitor is a powerful sales skill. So how do you do that?

An example might be: assume a competitor has equipment uptime issues. A question regarding this issue might be; “I understand, after discussions with you and viewing your facility, that downtime can really kill you, is that right?”

Let’s assume that the prospect/customer responds with a “yes, that would kill us”. Then you could respond with; “Are you familiar with our uptime statistics?” This will allow you an opportunity to present your statistics.

The next thing you would ask is; “are you familiar with ABC’s uptime statistics?” and this would allow you an opportunity to present your competitor’s uptime statistics. This assumes that you know the statistics. Nevertheless, it shows the power of competitive information and how a skillful salesperson can introduce competitor’s weaknesses and really impact an opportunity. Develop a product profile for every competitor.

Habit 38: Know the competition for each opportunity.
Habit 39: Know the competition’s strengths and weaknesses and be able to ask questions to make these weaknesses apparent.

“A Habit” is not work, but just a thing that is done every day and knowing your competition’s strengths and weaknesses is critical to your success in sales and can easily become a Habit.

TIME MANAGEMENT. For Top Performers every task is planned and focused on the goals that earn the results. Top Performers plan and then engage. They act on their plans, they work hard and they get results.

Coaching these skills is a critical part of what we do. We are here to help you develop and implement your Strategic Plan and coach and develop the skills to implement the plan successfully.

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