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Whether you work for a market leader or a start-up, as a sales person, you’re going to have to learn how to deal effectively with your competitors. How you handle your competition directly influences your ability to build trust, demonstrate knowledge and credibility and, ultimately, whether or not you win the deal.

Here are our top 5 tips on how best to handle the competition:

1. Don’t Ignore the Competition.

You might think this is obvious, but many sales people fall into the trap of being over confident in their own solution. The harsh reality is that today’s buyers conduct, on average, 68% of the buying process online. This means that your buyer has probably already spent a significant amount of time considering your competitors before you even get to speak to them about their specific need.

2. Know your Enemy.

Competitors aren’t really the enemy… in fact they not only ensure we remain innovative and keep developing new products/services/ways of working but, just sometimes, our competitors are able to offer our customers a better solution than the one we can offer them and that’s when we step away, demonstrating integrity and building trust in the process (positioning us favourably for future opportunities).

3. Don’t Badmouth your Competitors.

Of course you want to highlight to your customer the additional value your solution brings over and above that of your competitors, but choose language that does not in any way, insult or disrespect your competitors. This will only serve to cast you in a bad light with your customer. Address your competitor’s weaknesses instead by highlighting where your solution brings additional value.

4. Be the Best Sales Person that you Can Be.

Remember that, when it comes to making a buying decision, it’s not about the proposition alone. The buyer will want to choose a supplier that they trust to deliver the solution, who they feel has the expertise and credibility to see the project through to completion. You cannot control your competitor’s behaviours, but you can be the best sales person that you can be.

5. Don’t Enter into a Price War.

When it comes to negotiation, buyers will inevitably draw on the comparative weaknesses of a solution (one of which may be the cost itself), to try and drive down the price. If you have failed to identify and clearly communicate additional value that counteracts any weaknesses in your own solution and justifies the cost you have put forward, you’re probably going to find yourself either discounting, or losing the deal altogether. If your solution brings genuine added value to your customer and the cost you’ve offered reflects that added value, stick to your guns or, at least, ask for something in return. Whatever you do, don’t just drop the price to try and undercut a competitor.

Do you need help building your competitive strategy?

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