The Prospect Isn't Talking with Any Other Salespeople

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Apr 04, 2011 @ 12:04 PM

Have you ever heard that one before?

It's not that this can't happen.  Some people don't need to compare, talk with three companies, look at several options or get three quotes.  I don't.  Most great salespeople don't.  And your salespeople should never assume that a prospect NEEDS to shop around.

On the other hand, when the salesperson says, "They aren't talking with anyone else", and it turns out that they were, you have to wonder how the salesperson missed it.

There are several reasons why it could get missed.  They include:

  • The call just went SO well that your salesperson assumed there wasn't anyone else involved and didn't want to get someone else involved by asking;
  • The prospect didn't mention it and the salesperson didn't want to ask;
  • The salesperson asked and the prospect lied;
  • The salesperson asked and there wasn't anyone else at the time, but they got others involved at some point later on.
  • The call didn't go very well and the salesperson wasn't comfortable asking about competition.

In most of these scenarios, the salesperson is to blame, usually because of their own discomfort.  I don't know about you, but I would much rather know about the existence of a competitor, than worry that just because I asked, a competitor might suddenly appear.  The reality is that if your salespeople are effective, it is easier to sell against competition than it is to sell without competition.  Don't believe me?

The existence of competition usually means that the prospect is going to take action and purchase something.  The lack of competition is often a sign that they aren't motivated to buy, the timing isn't right, and they aren't convinced that they need what you provide.

The next time you ask about competition and a salesperson says, "They aren't talking with anyone else", challenge your salesperson on their prospect's motivation to buy - their urgency - and ask, "How do you know?"  "When you asked them about competition, what did they say?" 

Selling against competitors is normal, everyday activity for most salespeople.  Great salespeople can outsell great companies all day long.  The problem is that you have to know who they are before you can outsell them!

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales process, Sales Coaching, selling against competition, competitive selling, RFQ's, RFP's

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About Dave

Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog has earned medals for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for nine consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave

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