As a sales individual, we are sure you have come across scenarios where your competition won. Worse still, it is possible that you are stuck selling a product that is considered the 'economical' version of your competition. So, what differentiates your product as ‘economy’ and your competition as ‘deluxe’?
While there is an entire organisational philosophy that goes around building a premium product, there are some things you as a sales individual can do to make sure your product does not come across as a poor man’s alternate to your competition.
Hold back on the discounting
We have already written about how you can handle pricing objections in a previous blog post.
To make a statement on discounting, Ferrari does not do discounts. In fact, as a buyer you would feel awkward asking for a discount after walking into a Ferrari show room.
Yes, discounts might be needed but discount for the right reasons.
A common mistake on discounting, discounting to close deals faster.
The problem with this approach, the word that get’s out in the market is that you are happy to discount to close. Imagine the impact this philosophy has when the last person you gave a discount to speaks to his peers. The first thing those peers will expect will be a discount!
Every dollar you give away in discount not only makes hitting quota harder but also undermines the value of your product.
Invest in customer referrals
No matter how small or large your business is, you need to make the right kind of noise. By noise, we mean getting your customer’s to talk about your product and spreading awareness of your product/offering.
As a sales individual you can make sure that you have a ready portfolio of customer referrals and customers that will be willing to speak to potential customers.
In a nutshell, you need to find your advocates and leverage them at the right moment. Advocates and referrals are particularly powerful when selling to large organisations that will have referrals as part of their due diligence process.
Be a consultant not a sales individual
As a sales individual you are representing your organisation and are the face of your organisation. In many cases, you are the first impression!
So gaining your customer's trust and ear is important. That trust can only be earned by offering more than just a product pitch or feature insights. At the core of any client-customer relationship is the capability of the sales individual to act as a consultant. You might hear the catch phrase ‘consultative selling’ everywhere you go but effective sales individuals know how to truly act as consultants to their customers.
Needless to say, the first step in consultative selling is knowing your market!
Never talk down on your competition
Don’t fall into the trap of bad mouthing or looking down on your competition.
If your customer does ask “How are you better than your competition?” always be respectful in the comparison with your competition. In our experience, opening your conversation by saying something like "Xyz is a solid offering. However...." is usually a good start.
In fact, we encourage you always ask your customer to make an informed decision when it comes to picking a product. Discussing your competition is a very fine line that needs to be treaded carefully.
If you say too little, you might come across as deflecting the question. If you are aggressive, you might come across as being disrespectful to your competition.
Whatever you do, don’t deflect the question on comparing to your competition.
Have your collateral ready
Webinars, brochures, case studies, white papers are just some of the collateral you can use to present yourself as a premium offering. If your organisation has not invested in collateral yet, make your own!
When it comes to larger organisations, they will always ask you to send across some information. An email will not cut it! You need to make sure you have sufficient collateral to offer.
Remember, there are many more initiatives that lead to making a premium product line. However, the ones you control as a sales individual are mentioned here.
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