I’m hearing this question around the globe; regardless of what type of hardware or software being sold, and regardless of what region. The reality is that every vendor is very competitive, looking for any edge, and slashing prices. You are very familiar with your product, you know the pros and cons, you are familiar with the price point discussion, so what are you missing?
Become an Industry Expert
To be a successful, not only do you need to be extremely familiar with your offering, you also need to be just as, if not more familiar with the products that your competitors are enthusiastically promoting.
One of my favorite stories about competitive advantage happened to a colleague who was riding with the top sales pro for an industrial chemical company. The sales rep was on the phone to a prospect.
“Why are we so much more expensive? Do you have our competitor’s catalog there? Great! Look at page 50, lower left corner. See, they sell it in 20 pound cans. We sell it in 30 pound cans. Yes, that explains the difference. Yes, I can have that at your plant tomorrow.”
My colleague was aghast. “You’ve memorized your competitor’s catalog? What are you, Rain Man?”
“I spend a lot of time on the road, and instead of watching TV at night; I review my competitor’s literature. It doesn’t take much time and I can win most deals with what I learn, so it’s worth it.”
Take it Up a Level
You need to take the conversation beyond the competitive spec sheet (which counts to a lower-level employee) and position your technology as the way to meet their business objectives (which counts at the decision-making level). If you discuss your solution from a technical perspective with executives you are going to miss the opportunity.
You’ll always win when you create a clear differentiator between your solution and other offerings; from a non-technical, business perspective, and make it easy for executives to say ‘yes’ to your offer.
You might be thinking; yeah, but I only sell to the I.T. professional in the datacenter; I don’t have access to the other executives. This is true only if you’re selling small ticket products. Every proposal above a certain amount will go to the executive committee for review. If the I.T. professional brings your proposal to the executive committee; they’re already sold. All they need to do is sell their bosses and they rely on your proposal to do just that.
In reality, you are selling to the executive committee regardless of your point of contact within your customers’ organization. So intentionally craft your message to make it easy for the strategic thinkers within your customers’ organization to agree to your offer. Make sure that your written proposal is a business-based solution as opposed to a technical-based solution. Illustrate how your technology is the perfect ‘fit’, meeting the organization’s business objectives.
And when you do that, you’ll close way more deals regardless of the technology you are selling; bringing you one step closer to becoming truly CompetitionProof.