Competition. Something that every salesperson faces on a daily basis. Sadly, cutting prices doesn’t constitute a competitive sales technique in the long-run. That said, a staggering 73% of respondents to the recent UK Sales Skills Audit were lacking in the basic skills required to maintain a competitive footing in the market and simply weren’t aware of the impact that competitors can have upon pipeline, opportunities and revenues.
This got me thinking. Is the ability to be aware of your competition and the impact they can have really that much of a problem? Isn’t it just basic sales sense? Are businesses today struggling that much to stand out in what has quickly become a bustling marketplace?
To add fuel to the fire, a 2013 survey across the US found that almost a third of companies feel there is a lack of basic sales skills within their organization. These stats are pretty shocking when you think about it. If individuals today are lacking in the skills needed to distinguish their businesses from others, compete and even sell, how will any business ever really go the distance?
Being able to compete effectively and stand out from the crowd is key; here are just four simple tips to doing just that in a bustling marketplace:
Don’t discount, add value
Competing on price is a really cheap shot. You’re not only undercutting yourself and your profit margins, but you’re cheapening your brand. You should be adding value to your proposition at every single opportunity, making it easy and logical for your customers to purchase and repurchase. This could be delivering exceptional service, educating your customers or even reaching out to offer help and advice. People are more willing than ever to pay for great service these days and it is a big opportunity to do something a little different to the masses.
Offer a wider product range
If you and 30 other companies in the area were selling the same pink fluffy pens, it would appear that the only way to compete would be on price.Your value proposition for your customers isn’t all that great as you’re simply doing what everyone else is. But don’t be a sheep and follow the masses. Broadening your product range, maybe adding a blue fluffy pen to your portfolio and extending your offering might just be the gentle nudge customers need to choose you over your competition. Offer more products and you’ll attract more business.
Get the most out of your customers
Are you lucky enough to have a recognizable household name as one of your loyal customers? Use this to your competitive advantage; get a comment or a product review from them. Even add them to your website in a monthly ‘Featured Customers’ area. Not only will this spark an interest for prospects, but it’ll give your existing customers that warm fuzzy feeling when they are selected to appear. A reputable brand chose you over your competition, be sure to shout this from the rooftops.
Smile your way to competitive superstardom
If you had the choice between a faceless company with rock-bottom prices and a helpful, approachable company with moderate prices, which would you choose? If you’re selling to smaller companies, the majority will prefer to buy from a small team with a passion for what they sell, rather than a faceless corporate with no heart. Show your customers that you care at every chance you get, be proactive and pick up the phone to check in that everything is okay, you don’t have to sell to them, just be polite and say hello.
What are your top tips to stand out from the competition? Share them with us in the comments below or tweet us @sales_i – we’d love to hear them.