When asked to name your company’s competitors, you might quickly list several companies in your niche. But are those entities your business’ only competition?
Boyette identifies two unseen forces that can compete with yourteam, a battle for resources and passive competition. You’re probably familiar with both but might have overlooked them when creating your sales strategy.
Often there is more going on behind the scenes than your prospect is willing or able to share. For instance, your contact could be competing internally with other departments for your project’s budget. Or, another company with completely different products and services could be vying for the same financial resources as your firm. In both situations, your company is competing for resources, opponents that may not be obvious at first glance.
Passive competition, says Boyette, “amounts to the customer ‘doing nothing.’” How many times has your sales team come across a prospect that’s interested but just won’t act? A whole host of factors could create this problem. Maybe the prospect lacks the time to actually execute the agreement, or possibly the start of a new project is overwhelming and procrastination ensues.
What’s one to do in these situations?
“[S]taying focused on [the customer’s] needs is the best way to deal with competition,” writes Boyette.
Can you fight your prospect’s internal battles for them? No. Can you increase your prospect’s efficiency so they have more time to work on your project? Probably not.
Many things are out of your control with these invisible competitors, but some aren’t. Be in tune with your customers and what would help them the most. This means reaching out to them using through their preferred form of communication and asking questions so you can better understand the situation.
Arm your prospects with how they will benefit from your company’s products or services. Make things as easy as possible on them. Would a short outline of your company’s processes help the internal sell? How about a quick demonstration or presentation addressing the CEO’s top concerns? Make sure your customers know that you are there to support them in any way.
Most importantly, train your salespeople to actively listen so they can truly understand your customers and targets real needs. If they can reach that level of understanding, then “selling” them on your products or services becomes much easier.
Does your sales strategy and training account for these invisible forces? If not, it’s probably time for an update.
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