It seems that it was not that long ago when we were in the middle of a federal election here in Canada. As I watched the Leadership Debate on TV, I was reminded of a very important lesson. Whether it’s in politics or in sales, attacking your competition simply doesn’t work.
Think about it. When you criticize your competition, whether it be someone I voted for, or some company I purchased from, you are actually questioning my purchasing decision. Continue the attack and I will get insulted and defensive. I will actually start to look for reasons to justify my purchase and defend my decision. I may not tell you this, but I certainly am thinking it. In reality, by cutting down the competition who is your prospect’s current supplier, you are actually creating loyalty for your competition!
For example, I was recently at a networking meeting, and I was unlucky enough to be cornered by a financial services representative. Before he even had the courtesy to ask me a single question, he launched into a tirade about how evil a certain company was in dealing with their clients. Not only was he wrong in his assessment (yes, the company he mentioned was my current supplier), he made me realize that I was already dealing with the best company to satisfy my needs.
But what if he had been right? What if the company I was dealing with was far inferior to his? How do you make a prospect question his current supplier without being confrontational and causing the prospect to be defensive about his purchasing decision? You need to ask the right questions!
“Mr. Prospect, some of our customers who used to deal with ABC Company have mentioned they have experienced an issue with _____. Have you ever experienced this? How did it affect you? Would it help if we could eliminate it? How would it help?”
This line of questioning allows the prospect to discover issues he may never knew he had. If he says no, he has not experienced the same issue, then you have avoided the counter-productive competitive attack. If he says yes however, you have earned the right to showcase your competitive advantages and increase your chances of making the sale.
Remember, just like a ballot in an election, prospects vote with their hard earned purchasing dollars. Tell me what is wrong with the other candidate, and I will look for someone else. Tell me what you are going to do and why it is better, and you have earned my vote.
No matter the sales situation or the stage of the sales process, you will need to use the right language to keep the sale moving forward. Use the wrong language and you only create one of those dreaded, time wasting “maybes” on your prospect list. Use the right language however, and you make the sale. For proven methods of what to say when, check out Action Plan for Sales Success. This sales training program includes the techniques used by today’s top producing sales professionals and comes with 100% money back guarantee. It’s also available as a sales training eBook.
Or if you would like an honest opinion on the sales language you are using, schedule a free strategy session with me here.
Susan A. Enns, B2B Sales Coach & Author
B2B Sales Connections