Have you ever considered hoping to win over a prospect by telling them one of their competitors buys your product or services?
Many salespeople choose to take this approach, maybe you have yourself, but it often leads to a bad response from a buyer or no response at all. Whilst at first it may seem like a great idea and, sure, it grabs the buyers’ attention it can be a damaging approach to take. So before you draft a sales pitch to a new prospect, read on to learn 3 reasons why telling a buyer you work with their competitor is a terrible prospecting move and how you can change your approach.
1. It creates the wrong first impression
When contacting a prospect for the first time you want to spark their interest immediately, but you need to do so in a positive light. Ultimately, you are hoping to make a lasting business connection, and that won’t happen if you get off on the wrong foot. Even if they end up not choosing to use your product, a good first impression could make the difference between securing a positive referral by the prospect to another client in the future. By using the above phrase to initially contact the prospect, you are setting a negative tone and a creating a bad first impression. The whole phrase is based on assumptions. By assuming that you know exactly who the buyer’s competitors are you are immediately pigeonholing them. If you get this wrong, the prospect will immediately think you haven’t done your research and are not suitable for them to work with.
By using this approach you also make the assumption the prospect wants to be just as the competitor and that they are not individual. Businesses don’t want to be just like their competitors. They want to be better. By offering them only a level equal to their competitor you are likely to be ignored.
2. Jealousy is not good for anyone
If you have been using this phrase believing it will shock prospects into meeting with you, stop right now! Jealousy is never pretty, even when it to comes to sales. Using jealousy as a sales tactic to play on the prospect’s emotions can come across as sleazy, and result in a bad reputation for you as a salesperson. Assuming that the prospect will be jealous of a particular competitor is wrong. This approach can lead the buyer to feel inadequate, generic and unworthy in comparison to your existing clients.
3. Too much competition
If in the unlikely event you receive a positive response to this phrase and a prospect bites, where do you go from there? If you take on two clients who are competitors, how will you differentiate your product to each prospect? A prospect will want to be better than their competitor, not the same, and will look to you to provide a better product for them, often positioning you in the middle with divided loyalties. If you choose to head down this path you are likely to end up losing out. Bending over backward to accommodate two competing business can put a drain on your services, jeopardize opportunities to establish new clients and potentially result in losing one of the two competitors due to favoritism and overstretched services. Ultimately, this path is a deceiving shortcut back to the beginning.
4. Prospects talk
Unbeknown to you, and rather unfortunately, the prospect may know an individual working for or even running the ‘competitor’ company. It is a small world, and even smaller when it comes to specific client target areas. The last thing you want is for your sales tactics to be deemed shoddy throughout your client base. It is damaging not only for future prospects but for existing clients.
So when you turn the phrase on its head and read it that way, it is no wonder it doesn’t receive the feedback you initially hoped for. You want to make every prospect special. Have them believe that they are already successful and therefore would benefit greatly from your product.
Take an honest approach
To move forward with the sales process and increase your chances of securing prospects, keep things simple and go back to good old selling tactics. Without an established relationship with the prospect, assumptions should be avoided altogether and instead make only speculations. If the prospect recently expanded their business into a new field where you have existing clients, bring their attention to this noting their successful expansion and provide them with evidence of how you can help to benefit their growth.
Learn about the company and align your product with their values in order to gain their interest. Honesty is a much more sustainable method and can mean you avoid the conflicts discussed above. Change your introductory call or email to show genuine interest in their business and how using your product can benefit their progression.
If it is true that a prospect’s competitor is currently using your product, that’s great! It shows you have a product worth having and strong reputation with clients of a similar area. So give yourself a pat on the back and save that information for the right moment. In your introduction, direct the prospect to the referrals page of your website and let them decide for themselves whether or not you work for their ‘competitors’. This is a much more natural and authentic approach that is likely to secure you more clients in the long run.