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Sales Consulting and Training:

Taking the High Road

When Your Client Mentions Your Competition

None of us sell in a vacuum. Whenever you’re dealing with a prospect or an existing client, you are always competing against someone else. While competition can be internal, most of the time you are going head-to-head against another company who thinks they can do what you do better, faster and (sometimes) cheaper. Eventually, you’re going to face the following scenario and you’ll need to know how to handle it properly to sell effectively:

The Wrong Way

Sales Rep: “I was calling to follow up on our discussion from last week on the air freight proposal for next year.”

Customer: “Yes, well, I was curious how your company compares to Condor Freight as I’ve been talking with them, as well.”

Sales Rep: “Condor Freight!?  I wouldn’t get near them… they fly old beat-up 707s they bought from Air Angola in 1975 and I’ve heard their pilots tend to have drinking problems.  The cockpits have wet bars.”

The Right Way

Sales Rep: “I wanted to discuss our response to the RFP for industrial valves for the Duluth facility.”

Customer: “I’m glad you called because I also have a response from LotsaFlow on their valves.  They seem to have some aggressive pricing.”

Sales Rep: “I can appreciate that you’re looking at LotsaFlow, Pat.  Yet, it is our company policy not to comment on our competitors, either positively or negatively.  What I would be glad to do is tell you how our valves will enable your company to…”

This is a great strategy to employ as it keeps you from wallowing in the mud as you try to knock down your competitor and lift up your company.  It also builds credibility with your client as you show them that while you understand another company is competing for the business, your focus is how your product or service is the best.  You set your company up as the standard by not trying to live up to some other standard.

These situations are tailor-made for benefit statements. When a customer brings up a competitive product or service, you can use FABs to redirect the conversation and focus on the value of your products and service. Bring customers back into your fold by showing them “what’s in it for them”. Your FABs can be specifically tailored to address issues or concerns that may apply to your competitors. In a sense, you can answer a client’s question in a manner that allows you to focus on your products and still maintain the high road.

Some examples of how FABs can be used to get things back on track include:

Example One

Client: “DataMetrics claims their performance suite is a better fit since we can pick and choose the options we want to deploy.”

Sales Rep: “I can’t really speak to the quality of DataMetrics’ performance suite. I can tell you that our suite of products utilize a common user interface and functionality. This enables database administrators to learn one system for performance monitoring, tuning and automated recovery. What this does is increase your team’s productivity by providing a system that can be adopted quickly and more effectively.”

Example Two

Client: “Staffem tells me they have more available personnel than any other company in the state.”

Sales Rep: “Our company policy is to not talk either positively or negatively about our competitors.  I can tell you that the personnel in our company average over 20 years of experience in the industry.  This provides you with access to extremely talented individuals with ‘best of breed’ experience in multiple industries.  What this means to you is that your projects will managed with fewer cost overruns, less mistakes and more accurate results.”

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