Selling in a competitive market can be a grind. Your prospects have been beaten down time and time again by competitors. They’ve likely chosen a competitor in the past and it’s possible, if not plausible, they’ve been burned. They might even have a sour taste for the whole industry. How do you sell here?
In a market where competition is heavy, differentiation is vital. BUT, relying on features, benefits, or even price is a mistake. You need to answer these questions first:
What value do you provide that your competitors don’t?
Why is your approach more effective and/or efficient than your competition?
What makes you the superior choice?
It’s not products, it’s solutions
People don’t buy products or services, they buy solutions to their problems. In tough markets, where prospects have been let down before, we’ve got to start by understanding where they’re coming from. Sometimes, we may need to rebuild their trust in the whole industry.
Walk in the buyer’s shoes
We really need to get into the prospect’s shoes here, understand their goals and challenges. It’s not enough to just list what makes you different. Help them visualize the gap between where they are and where they want to be, with the offering as the bridge. Show them the clear path from the problem to the solution. Let them see your value.
Steer clear of price wars
We’ve been told for years that price is the differentiator. No, avoid that trap. If you offer a premium solution, no need to cut the price. Highlight the value you bring.
Identify what makes you different at the core. Find the areas where you solve problems differently or have a unique approach that directly targets the issues in a way others can’t. Highlight these nuances and why they make you superior in addressing the client’s specific needs.
Find concrete differences
Back up your claims by being crystal clear about the differences. The more specific and concrete you can be about how you tackle the root causes, the stronger the business case. Remember we’re not in a price war, we’re selling the value of the outcome.
Losing sales in competitive markets
Recognize that you’re not losing sales because your market is competitive, your price is higher, or because there’s already a solution in place. The root of your losses lies in your inability to express why your product solves the problem and brings a higher value to the consumer.
This week we have a super competitive market, marketing, trying to sell Keenan. This solution could already be in place in-house, provided by another agency, or not at all. What additional value can be brought to the table? Watch how Kelly attaches a revenue problem to her services.
5 Essentials of Selling in a Competitive Market
1. Empathy and trust building
Acknowledge and empathize with the prospect’s past experiences and rebuild the trust in the industry. Find a way to show that your solution addresses their issues.
2. Understand where they want to go
Visualize the gap between their current state and desired outcomes. Position yourself as the bridge to that outcome.
Deliver value that competitors don’t. Why are you different, what root causes do you address that solve the problem?
4. Distinctive Root Causes
Highlight the specific ways in which you solve problems differently and offer a unique and creative approach.
5. Articulate the differences
Effectively communicate the differences and provide a strong business case. Convey your value rather than haggling over price.
Competitive markets pose a challenge. They’re not impossible, you just need to know where your value lies and how to effectively show a prospect why you are the solution.