the past few years, since I began using this weekly blog to share stories about
sales and sales management, I have been receiving numerous questions from
readers including my own clients. Over the next several months I am going to
use my weekly ramblings to post one reader question with my answer. Please note
– my answers are based on my personal and professional experiences and in no
way reflect my company or specific clients.
Q: My company is considered more a
specialist in our field while a few of our competitors offer similar services
but also many others. While we’re more of a niche they are more of a one stop
shop. Do you have any advice for our sales people when comparing and
contrasting us to our competition?
A: I live this scenario every day, so I’m
more than happy to share my opinion. Please keep in mind, this works for me and
it may work for you, but I can’t guarantee it. I start my sales pitch off
describing exactly what we are, what we are not, and what they can expect from
my competition. I never talk about my competition by name or in much detail,
rather I provide a general description of my competitors that seem to sell
themselves as all things to all people. Sometimes, not often, but sometimes my
competitors may actually be a better fit for the prospect versus my firm. In
these cases, it’s not exactly that the competition is a better fit, instead the
prospective client may be better suited for them than for me. Being more of a
specialist or niche service provider, I look for certain types of clients that
are a better fit for my firm, an organization that matches our belief system and
processes. Generally speaking, when a prospect wants more services from a single
provider, more “jacks of all trades”, then I know ahead of time what type of
people I’d be dealing with and they are typically not a good fit for me.
However, when a prospect speaks the same language in terms of specialty,
experience, the need for niche, then we’re headed in the right direction.
Heading this off from the very beginning gives you the upper hand because you
set the stage and tone for the rest of the sales process. You will make your
competition sell against your niche experience and you’ll put them in a
position of playing keep up.