How well do you really know your competition?
A big part of sales success is knowing your competition. Without that knowledge, you cannot expect to sell smartly against them. Knowing who they are is step one, but knowing what they do, how they act, and how you can work that, are all crucial if you are to be a real winner.
Be clear on your unique benefits
You want to be able to highlight the benefits that are uniquely yours. How are you supposed to know that unless you know exactly what your competitors offer? The more you know about them, the more you can position the areas in which you are better. Furthermore, the more you know them, the more you are able to pre-empt their pitches by ‘anticipating’ what they might say.
Anticipate the opposition’s approach
Yes, it’s a little sneaky, but as long as you are telling the truth and being completely honest about everything you say, it’s just good sense. If your product does X well and you know that your competitors will focus on Y, you have the opportunity to highlight the importance and availability of X even though they may have already attempted to muddy the waters. Be honest about this though: X has to be something that genuinely offers value.
Prove your benefits
The whole idea here is to make a sale by proving the benefits and value of your product or service. You can only do that by being honest and upfront. By knowing your competition inside out – even when they have the same honest agenda as you – you have a good idea of the points you are able to highlight with complete confidence.
Do your homework
While you can Google your competitors, have you ever thought to call them? Your competition is quite capable of selling itself and it shouldn’t be threatened by your enquiry. On the contrary, if we accept that a real sales professional only tells the truth, there is nothing but upside for your competitors in you knowing their real strengths because that means you aren’t going to make their lives any more difficult by misrepresenting them – either deliberately or by accident.
What you need to know
The more you know, the better, but focus on how they shape up against the areas in which you are strongest. Make sure you know how great they are when compared to your other competitors so that you can attach some measurement to them. It is all about comparison. How can you really claim to be the biggest, fastest, cheapest or most powerful unless you know what else is out there and can speak about it intelligently?