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sales strategy - Handling the Competition

Advanced Sales Training, E-Learning

· sales strategy,sales process,sales training,competition

This is the eighth in a series of articles for e-learning for Advanced Sales Training for IT and High-Tech Sales. "Sales Strategy – Handling the Competition.”

Competition is an issue throughout the sales cycle whether it is with an existing sales account or a new opportunity. The key is to keep competition in mind constantly, and by matching your activities to the customers buying processes begin to build competitive barriers from the start.

Become a trusted adviser - Get to know the customer’s business, and business drivers, and extend your contact networks.

Be the trigger - Help the buyer recognise issues and opportunities and the need for action.

Understand their criteria and decision process - If you don’t know ask. Find out how decisions are made and who are the decision makers. Make sure you meet them. And when you do, don’t talk about your solution, talk about their decision and what’s important in the solution.

Match their needs with your solutions - and help the client to develop selection criteria based on your differentiation and in your favour.

Use the Letter System – Every meaningful contact with the customer deserves a letter!

Confirm - When the buyer has decided to move forward and evaluate alternatives, confirm the selection criteria and their relative importance, the decision process and decision makers and the competition – if you don’t know ask.

Understand your competitors - Find out about your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses and create a Decision Table and plot the selection criteria, your strengths and weaknesses and competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.

Influence criteria - Work on the criteria so that you are in a winning position. Promote criteria that match your strengths, demote those where you are weaker, introduce new criteria that are not on the list but match your strengths – use techniques such as redefining, offering alternatives, trading-off criteria where you are weak. Ensure the buyer is aware of all the implications of specific criteria and that they are comparing apples with apples.

The following example Decision Table is based on a solution for a company in the Construction and Engineering industry.

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For more strategies and tactics for handling competition in a number of different competitive scenarios you will have to take the training course – for more information visit