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Selling Against a Competitor (When You Think They're Better)

By Ray Makela

On this Q&A episode: "What do you do if your competitor's product is better for the client?"

If you can't see the video thumbnail below, click here to watch the video.

*** Enhanced Video Script ***

It’s an interesting question, and it makes me think about the situation that the person was in when they asked it. The first question I'd ask back is: why do you think the competitor's product is better than your own?

Did the competitor tell you that their product is better than yours? Or did your client tell you that? In other words, what was the frame of reference when you learned about that claim? Because you know, there's a saying that Sales is about the transfer of confidence. You need to be confident that you're a better solution for the client.

As a salesperson, you need to work hard to figure out why you're the best fit for your client, how you're adding unique value, and why you're the best solution. If you can't figure these out, it's going to be difficult to convince clients that you're the best fit.

Here are four steps you can follow to differentiate your solution.

#1 Understand Their Unique Needs

Early in the discovery process, ask questions to uncover the extent of their problem. Help them understand their problems in ways that they haven't even considered. Ask about how much pain their problem is causing. What would the future look like if they addressed that situation? 

#2 Determine How You’ll Fulfill Them

You want to understand their needs and help them develop those needs. Then determine ways that you can fulfill those needs better than the competition.

Resist and fight the urge to be commoditized and be put in a situation where every product looks the same. That's why is important to understand your client’s unique needs and how you'll fulfill them early in the conversation.

#3 Quantify Your Unique Value

The third component is to quantify the unique value that you bring. Once you've uncovered their needs and the value you can provide, break that down into components that you can quantify. Now you can actually help them build a business case that will justify their solution and support choosing you to deliver it. That's going to help, again, to differentiate what you're offering.

#4 Differentiate Yourself by Your Selling Actions

Finally, you can differentiate yourself by your selling actions. You can earn an opportunity through every interaction, it's all about the way you engage and build rapport.

A prospect or client often makes a decision about working with you because of how you interact and how they feel about you. They know that going through the sales process is one example of what it's going to be like to work with you and your company. The better you develop rapport and build that relationship during this process, the better off you're going to be in gaining that business.

Now if you truly think your competitor is better than yours, go sell for them, or you'd better ensure that you have the lowest price. But needing to compete on price is a place you don't want to be as a salesperson.

To recap, if the competitor's product is superior to your own, the only way you're going to win is the price. To avoid being commoditized and competing on price, you'll need to differentiate your solution by understanding their needs, presenting your value, quantifying what you're offering, and engaging with the client to win that deal.

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About Ray Makela

Ray Makela
Ray Makela is CEO and Managing Director at Sales Readiness Group (SRG). He oversees all client engagements as well as serves as a senior facilitator on sales management, coaching, negotiation and sales training workshops. Ray has over 20 years of management, consulting, and sales experience and writes frequently on best practices for coaching and developing sales teams.

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