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Meeting—and defeating—Goliath’s challenges:
Here are some ways that a larger competitor might attempt to exploit your size, along with some potential considerations for handling those objections with your coaches and allies in account:
üChallenge: The competition may question your viability to prospect. "What would happen to you, Mr. Prospect, if they were to go out of business or be acquired?"
Your strategy: Don't wait for this to happen, as it most likely will. You need a concise, compelling story, prepared in advance, that must be credibly and sincerely delivered by your most senior executives. Mitigating perceived risk is part of critical path to success when competing against a much larger rival.
üChallenge: The competition may attempt to expand scope of evaluation into areas where you don't have a solution.
Your strategy: Alert your prospect in advance that this may happen. Praise their efforts in defining their requirements so well. Ask if they are prepared to have scope of their initiative, project or investment substantially expanded.
üChallenge: The competition may attempt to impress your prospect with hordes of resources to demonstrate their prowess.
Your strategy: Again, prepare your prospect in advance that this may happen. Suggest that these firms make a lot of money and therefore have ability to expend resources, in order to impress prospects to make a sale. If you know your competitor's bid will come in considerably higher than yours will, you may want to subtly suggest that using resources to win business may be a reason that their overhead is so high.
üChallenge: The competition may be willing to guarantee results in a way that you cannot.
Your strategy: Perhaps they can guarantee results, but at what cost to prospect? Educate your prospect that word "cost" in cost overrun does not only refer to what a customer pays a supplier. There are many other costs as well, including lost opportunity, customer satisfaction and employee retention to name a few.
How will you know in advance what your competition is going to do? Raise your competitive IQ. You do that by investing time to aggregate and analyze past wins and losses against a few key competitors. When you do, you'll start to see patterns of behavior that individual companies and people who sell for them use against you. Learning to build sales strategies based upon that information will you be able to begin to outsell your competitors on a consistent basis.
Remember two components. You'll be glad you did.
Qualification combined with strategic competitive selling does work, asserts Stein. As proof, he offers following anecdote: “After confirming that size did not matter in a face-to-face meeting with a division president of a $5 billion corporation, my client, CEO of a $5 million firm, commanded that his team pursue a $2 million contract competing against a $750 million rival,” he says. “Now there is a David and Goliath scenario! I coached that sales team. Among other things, we diluted competition's apparent strengths and portrayed their large size as a liability, which in this case it really was.” “We outsold competition and won business,” Stein concludes. “And my client's company got a lot more to follow, because they did what they promised for their customer. As CEO related to me, elated with a contract five times larger than anything his team had secured up to that time, ‘the most important thing for me is that this process is repeatable.’ I think that makes a compelling case for two components, and their critical role in smaller candidate’s success.”
Before founding The Stein Advantage, Inc., Dave Stein was employed in a diversity of executive sales and marketing roles. Dave consultants, coaches, speaks and trains on competitive sales strategies. He is author of How Winners Sell: 21 Proven Strategies to Outsell Your Competition & Win the Big Sale. Dave was an early adopter of technology and is a recognized expert on technology sales, marketing, and service. More info: www.HowWinnersSell.com.