I recently had a very novel sales experience. And I guess I should count my blessings that this hasn’t happened more often.
We were competing to win a new account (this would be an awesome client for us), and I found out that one of our competitors was telling this company some rather unflattering, and completely untrue things about our company.
As you might guess, I was ticked! But what should we do?
Step 1: Get mad…then forget about it.
My first reaction was to get mad. Really mad. Haley Marketing is practically my fourth child. An insult on my firm’s reputation feels like an attack on my family. So my first inclination was to defend our company against the attack. Or even go on the offensive.
But then I thought more about it.
When you become defensive in a sales situation (or even worse, you counter attack), you don’t do yourself any favors. Being defensive. Disparaging the competition. It’s not professional. It doesn’t make people like you or want to buy from you. And in the end, it does absolutely nothing to address the claims made against your organization…or fulfill the prospect’s needs.
Step 2: Get perspective.
When the competition blasts you, that’s actually a good thing. It means they don’t have a value proposition that’s better than yours. They are focused on beating you, not on offering a better solution to the client’s needs.
Bottom line, when someone says something negative about you, you are in the driver’s seat. The key to your winning the business is not beating the other guys, it’s delivering a value proposition for which there is no good substitute. In staffing, you might provide faster fills, a better match based on your specific niche expertise, a lower total cost of service, or a more extraordinary service experience.
The key to winning the business is to focus on your strengths. Show the prospect how you are the best–and ideally, the only real match for their needs.
Step 3: Let your numbers…and others do the talking.
In a competitive situation it is very hard (often impossible) for a prospect to accurately measure one firm against another. Once you’ve made your case as strongly as you can (and before I forget, be sure you address your prospect’s likely objections as part of your presentation), then it’s time to build credibility via the following means:
- Data – use metrics to prove that you deliver the results you promise.
- Process – show you do things differently than anyone else.
- References – have a deep list of references your prospect can contact.
- Reviews – build positive social reviews to lend credibility to your claims.
- Transparency – by honest and direct about pricing and even your flaws (after all, no one is perfect).
Don’t get mad…Get the business.
We live in a competitive world, and the more competitors you have, the more like the competition will say some “not so nice” things about you. It happens. But don’t stress. Take the negative comments as an opportunity to further demonstrate your skills, your competence, and your integrity.
When you take the high road, more often than not, you’ll end up the winner.
And that’s really the best revenge!