Ask any track coach, and they’ll tell you how important it is for sprinters to focus on the finish line — and how bad it is to look at your competition. Turning your head slows you down; losing focus on the goal means losing races.
I coach Sellers to do something similar. The winning approach is to have the most acute focus on the customer and their solution image. Paying too much attention to yoru competitor makes you reactive and me-too. If you focus on your customer and their situation better than any other seller, you have an overwhelming advantage.
Everything you need to know about a competitor is whatever your prospect thinks about them. Think about it: the only things that can actually affect your sale are any competitor perceptions in your prospect’s mind. Don’t watch what the competitor is doing, but pay careful attention to how their actions affect your prospect. Just like the sprinter, you can’t watch the competition…directly. Your view of them must be through your customer’s eyes.
Of course, you need to be prepared for what a competitor might do or say to your prospect. Often, competitive actions are predictable, and you can be prepared for them…once they impact your customer’s perception.
What is my Competition?
So who and what is “competition” ? Even if the competing priority for funds is status quo/do nothing, you need to sell against it. Any consideration that could make the budget dollars you are trying to get allocated your direction should be considered “competition”. If a bad storm hits, a new roof for a building can be the competitor for a new piece of lab equipment. The same rules apply: understand the next most likely use of funds, then understand how the customer is comparing the two, and make sure they’re giving adequate weight to all differentiators that you offer.
What is your approach to competition? Share your thoughts on this post below, or contact me to learn more about how to communicate your offer’s value versus the next best choice.
To Your Success!