If your company is like most, you have lots of competition and some of them will do anything to get the business. How would you like to eliminate your competition? I don't mean putting them out of business (some of you wouldn't mind that at all) but I do mean getting them out of the way...
There are three ways to eliminate increasing competition for a declining number of opportunities:
- Stop Trolling for Projects and Opportunities. Many companies call known customers and prospects and ask if they have "Anything going on". This is what creates competition! Rather than trolling for projects, your salespeople should be looking for problems that prospects haven't yet turned into projects and as a result, haven't invited anyone in to present and propose. Warning: This requires excellent hunting and consultative selling skills. If your salespeople haven't developed them, don't bother trying this at home.
- Show Up Late. You can be as late as "We just made the decision to go with ABC" and still get the business. For all intents and purposes, the competition has stopped and a few well-placed questions can get decision makers to question their decision. Try these two: "Who are you buying from?" and "Did you go with them because they understood your problem and had an ideal long term solution with an immediate impact and favorable ROI, or did they distract you from that important stuff with their price?"
- Neutralize the Competition. You know what you can do that your competition can't. The key then is for your prospects to want that which only you can do. Your salespeople must ask enough questions to identify a prospect's compelling reasons to buy from you so that your salespeople can identify a unique solution to their problem. When your salespeople ask their prospects why they are interested in doing business with you, their prospects will say it's because you can "Do that thing" they were told about. Then your salespeople simply ask, "can't XYZ do that?"
If you don't care about profits, you can elminate your competition by pricing your offering so low that you are the clear cut winner on price. Of course, that doesn't guarantee the business either!
Certainly, the three bullets above aren't the only things your salespeople can do to eliminate competition. The bigger point is that they probably aren't doing any of the things on the list. They probably arrive at an opportunity the same way that their competitors do; by getting invited in when the prospect is so far along in their buying process that they are expecting a presentation and proposal from 5 companies. Unfortunately, that ain't selling - unless - the salesperson is able to regain control of that process and take the opportunity all the way back to 1st base (Baseline Selling) to discover the compelling reasons to buy. Can your salespeople do that?