"Did you hear what your competitor is doing?" This question has caused many business people to freeze in their tracks. How about you? Does your sales team know what your competitors are doing? And if a prospect was to ask them, "give me 10 unique reasons why I should buy from you and your company," could they answer this question without a pause? "Knowing thy competitor" is critical, and this article will outline three easy ways to know more about them, than they know about you! Let's get started!
Their people: Begin by "shopping" on the telephone, by mail and in-person, the competitors who offer similar pricing and products as your company. When "shopping" in-person, notice their sales staff and look for the way they dress, the tone in their voice, the organization of their office, the ease they display when presenting their product or service, and what questions they ask at the end of your conversation. By observing closely, you will see and hear the quality of person hired by your competitors and the time they invest in their training program. Then ask yourself, "how do these standards, compare to ours?"
Tip From The Coach: Whenever possible, interview EVERYONE who has worked for your competitor. You can learn volumes about how each company hires and trains their people and you will be able to identify their unique management style. Also, ask questions about this person's previous work experience, as it may give you new ideas for recruiting key people. And isn't finding a great team player always a hot topic?
Their product: "Shop" your competitors at least quarterly, listening closely for any new services or products they offer. Pay close attention to the quality of their brochures, the appearance of their products and any special ways they add "unique" value to buying from their company. Use a consistent "shopping" report so you can easily summarize the unique features and benefits of each competitor. Now, how does your company compare to the rest? And more importantly, how does your company compare to the best?
Tip From The Coach: Every Monday morning, have your sales team spend 15 minutes reviewing the "shopping" reports done over the previous week. When your team has this type of timely and detailed information, they should be able to easily respond to a prospect who says, "why should I buy from you and not your competitor?" Have your sales team practice handling this type of standard question, as practice does make PERFECT!
Their pricing: Once you know the specific details about your competitor's people and their product or service, your sales team will have much more confidence when they explain why your product is "special" compared to the rest. And when you focus on the strengths of your product, so will your prospects. Lastly, people buy from people! A small price difference can easily be overlooked, when your sales team is courteous and professional! Remember, each prospect is looking to find the right product/service, from the right company?and feel good about their purchase!
Tip From The Coach: If price is the only issue, work with your sales team to prepare in advance, a checklist of the specific features and benefits unique to your product or service, as compared to your competitors. Have each sales person practice presenting this checklist with confidence and accuracy as this part of their presentation will usually be enough for the prospect to say, "OK, how can we get started!"
So, follow these three easy steps and see how much easier it is to serve your customers when you know more about your competitors, than they know about you! If you would like to receive a free report to use when you are shopping your competitors please fax a request on your letterhead to 435-615-8670 and The Coach will fax you a sample report in ten minutes! Want to hear more about this important topic or ask some additional questions? Fax a note on your letterhead to 435-615-8670 or send an E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org and The Coach will fax/E-mail back to you a free invitation to be a participant on a TeleForum conference call.
Author's note: Ernest F. Oriente, The Coach, is the founder of PowerHour? a professional business coaching/recruiting service and the author of SmartMatch Alliances?. He has spent 17,500 hours [since 1995] delivering customized training, by telephone, in leadership, traditional/Internet marketing and sales for fast growing sales companies and entrepreneurial businesses worldwide. PowerHour? specializes in global distance learning by telephone, using their state-of-the-art conference call system for interactive and dynamic TeleForums. Twice-monthly TeleForums link 10-100 executives/professionals/individuals who are geographically dispersed, in a time efficient and profitable format.
PowerHour? is based in Olympic-town?Park City, Utah, at 435-615-8486, by E-mail email@example.com or visit their TeleForum website: http://www.powerhour.com. To receive a FREE success newsletter, with subscribers in 74 countries, send an E-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Recent PowerHour? articles have appeared in 4000+ business/trade publications and websites.