Last week our company took part in a great consultative inside sales training. I love these trainings because although some of the topics may seem obvious at first, we sometimes tend to put these fundamental topics on the back burner at work because other priorities end up taking up our time instead. The training from last week really helped to reinforce the topic of Knowing your Competition. Seems simple, right? It may seem straightforward, but ask yourself these questions. When was the last time you sat down and really thought about who your competition is? Do you ever think about competition in a different light other than during the actual sell? This training really emphasized the idea of not only knowing your competition when bringing on new customers, but more importantly, really being aware of your competition when it comes to retaining your existing customers.
If you haven’t revisited the idea of knowing your competition for quite some time, a simple exercise for your team to complete is to map out the competitive landscape of your space. While your team doesn’t need to know every nitty-gritty detail of the competition’s offering(s), they should have enough ammo to allow them to focus on your strengths when speaking with prospects that currently utilize a competitor. Some of the basic and helpful questions to map out an understanding of your competition are:
- How long has the company been around?
- How does your company compare from a cost standpoint?
- What are their strengths?
- What are their weaknesses?
You never want to bash your competition, but you do want to have enough information to guide the conversation with a prospect that will highlight your strengths in areas that the competition may lack.
So then there’s the other side of knowing your competition – thinking about your competition after the sale is made. Sometimes we think about competition when we are trying to win business and not always when trying to maintain business. The trainer last week really caught my attention when she made the statement,
“Protect your clients with your life. Your competition will be eyeing them, so invest time and money in the relationship. What would you do if you lost your top ten clients to competition?”
This really hit home for me and made me realize that focusing on competition is just as important if not more crucial once you gain a new customer. It’s important to remind yourself that you aren’t in the clear from competition at this point, and in fact now it’s more important than ever to go above and beyond expectations. It may seem like I am stating the obvious here, but can you truly admit that you think about this on a daily basis? Ask yourself the following:
- Are your products/services consistent and reliable?
- Are you exhibiting a positive attitude in every interaction with the customer?
- Do your customers trust you and the expertise that you bring to the table?
- Are you constantly looking for ways to provide additional value?
I may sound like a broken record here, but these very simple points are ones that everyone should be thinking of each and every day even when getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily tasks. Sometimes we need a friendly reminder to focus on something as simple as knowing your competition when it comes to the day-to-day operations of your sales organization. Every day, you can count on the fact that your competition is chasing after your potential and current customers. While it seems easy to keep this in the back of our minds every day, we quickly forget as we get caught up in the middle of our daily work. Remember, it costs 5 times more to acquire a customer than to retain an existing one, so always have a plan in place to ensure you are doing everything you can to protect your customers from the competition. How do you keep a constant pulse on your competition?
Other articles that may be helpful for strategic prospecting with competition in mind:
- Coaching and Challenging Prospects Through the Sales Process
- 5 Ways To Maintain Your Clients
- Tips On Commanding Respect While Teleprospecting Tough Prospects