I recently took these pictures of mushrooms on our property that I had not seen prior to this year. Bright reds, bright oranges, whites and more. After living on this property for the past twenty years, it really surprised me that these bright colored mushrooms appeared out of nowhere. Then again, my wife and I have cut down a lot of trees and cleared a lot of brush in the last twelve months. Could they have been growing there right along and we simply didn't see them?
Can you guess where this is going?
Have you ever had a sales opportunity that was completely under control, you were following your sales process, everything was looking great, and then, from out of nowhere and without warning, surprise competitors appeared?
Yes, the magic mushroom competitors!
Were those competitors competing for the business the entire time and the prospect didn't share that important piece of information? Did you neglect to ask if they were talking with or looking at anyone else? Or, and this is important, were they eleventh hour additions to the game?
The late-to-the-game addition is the easiest to deal with because we have the most clarity on this scenario. Prospects invite additional competition when they are not 100% sold on one or more of the following 15 possibilities:
- your offering
- your price
- your company
- your timing
- your delivery
- your options
- your responsiveness
- your testimonials
- your quality
- your track record
- your politics
- your sense of humor
- your location
- your customer service
- your technical service
Prospects generally don't want to compromise so it only takes one thing that was either not covered, not explained, not handled, not offered, or not included and they may look elsewhere. So what can you do to make sure that never happens to you (again)?
You need to more thoroughly qualify your opportunities!!!
EVERYTHING that could go wrong must be anticipated and discussed during your qualification stage. That's why you should never, ever, ever rely on a proposal or a quote or a Scope of Work to explain your offering, prices or fees. Those documents merely formalize in writing what you have already agreed to! YOU close and if they want to move forward WITH YOU, then you can send it.
Prior to that you should discuss EVERYTHING from fees, to terms, to timelines, to alignment, to expectations, to fit, to yes, competition. And if there is competition, discuss it, ask why, ask how they feel about them, who they are leaning towards, why, and what you can do about it? And when it comes to what you can do about it, DO NOT EVER LET IT BE ABOUT LOWERING YOUR PRICE. NEVER. If they ask you to match or lower your fees, ask, "other than pricing, what can I do?"
When it comes to hidden competition, don't act like you've been taking the magic mushrooms and developing happy ears. ASK QUESTIONS!