Hey it’s Christian here.
If you are new to selling software or if you have been in the game for 10 years plus, speaking intelligently about your company’s platform in competitive situations is IMPORTANT.
Having this skillset can make or break a deal.
We have been getting request after request to come out with some material on what to do in competitive landscapes.
Below I am going to share some TIPS and TRICKS around competitive selling that will make you FIERCE and DANGEROUS in the eyes of your competition.
NOTE: the information below is from a good friend of mine who has been working as an enterprise sales rep at Oracle for over 15 years.
DISCLOSURE: she makes well above $500,000/year and is one of the most respected board members of my company.
When you are coming face to face in a competitive situation, having that conversation with a prospect, always come from a “feel bad” tone.
Don’t get defensive, but the tone in which you are describing your offering and how it differentiates from that of your competitor, your tone should insinuate that your competitor is inferior in X respect for XYZ reasons.
However, this is not bashing your competitor. DO NOT speak down towards them. INSTEAD, genuinely feel bad about their market positioning from a standpoint of technology.
Refocus the prospects energy and time on their initial challenges/pain (be as specific as possible) and swoop in with a VALUE STATEMENT as to why YOUR company’s offering is best suited to resolve those NEEDS.
This is a very sound method of taking a step back, addressing the original reasons as to why the prospect came your company in the first place (or if you proactively reached out to them), and “resetting the table”.
Again, this is not bashing the competition but IT IS taking the bull by its horns and coming back with something that will move the prospect’s logical and emotional needle forward.
It’s a great way of making sure that you are on the same side as the prospect instead of doing something sleazy (like 99%ers do) and getting defensive or freezing up.
KEEP THE CONVERSATION HIGH LEVEL.
Even if you are speaking to a technical savvy prospect (IT admin or marketer), keep your messaging in how you are differentiating your offering from others in the simplest way possible.
That way, Mr. or Mrs. prospect will FULLY understand what it is you are trying to verbalize to them.
It is a dangerous game here to “play in the weeds” and you do not want to be vague, but you also do not want to get so granular that you talk yourself into a rabbit hole.
Keep your explanation short & sweet, hit on the major points, and be done with it.
Lastly, confirm with the prospect that he or she is in total agreement that they are grasping what you are saying.
If this is not the case, politely tell them that you will consult with your technical resources when you get off the call.
AVOID AT ALL COSTS PUTTING THIS STUFF INTO WRITING.
The worst thing you can do is put solid differentiators into writing, i.e. like an email format or case study, because technological advancements tend to change RAPIDLY all the time.
What might be true today may not be true tomorrow or the next day if your competitor either catches up to you or comes out with an even more effective benefit/feature you’re trying to sell AGAINST.
Believe me because it’s happened to me, especially in competitive displacement deals. This means if you are speaking with a prospect who is already using your competitor’s software platform.
In the event that you put this into writing, chances are you may only be hurting yourself and your firm, because there is no telling if the prospect will go back to that vendor and ask, “Can you guys do this”?