From today’s mailbag: “We’ve got a good product, but I simply cannot beat our competitors on price! I fell like I have a really good value story and can make connections but someone undercuts me every time. How can I win?”
Carson: You ask an age-old question! In reality, this fierce competition for customers is good for consumers. It forces us all to up the ante in bringing the best value to every customer for the money they invest. On the flip side, it can be agony for all of us who have lost deals to someone who just flat out beats us on price – specifically when there are not a lot of other value add differentiators we can introduce to the equation.
#1 – This can be remedied with relationships (of course, not entirely). You cited that you make connections. Can your customers reach you every time? Do you quickly and efficiently and correctly supply the answers to all of their needs, every time? A lot of why customers will continue to do business with you, even knowing that they may be paying more, is the reliability of the relationship. They know they pay a little more, but they are paying for you! It’s why we tip more in restaurants with a great experience. I don’t mind paying a premium for premium service. So many times I have had customers tell me that they stick with me because they know I’ll answer their phone call, I’ll respond right away to their e-mail, I’ll keep them updated even if I don’t really have an update – they have zero doubt I’m working for them and on their behalf at all times and that I won’t forget about them, even if they have the most basic or non revenue generating requests.
#2 – Most companies will do this, but you’ve got to sit down and write out your differentiating factors. What does your company do or represent or provide that stands out? Do you have free perks that go along with your product or service? Do you do something in a way that no one else does? Why would someone choose you over any other competitor? Also, find out what the competition does – “know thy enemy” so you can adequately address the differences and be able to ask your customers what they like and dislike about the competition so you may most adequately exceed their expectations and earn their business!
#3 – Lose graciously, and with honesty! Frankly, I have to hand it to the competition sometimes! They may very well make a great product, and I’m not going to disparage it. If that is the case, sometimes, we have to own up to that and say, “Hey, we may not be the right fit this time around.” Being honest with your customer will further that relationship! They will value your real feedback and the fact you weren’t just trying to sell them something. This goes such a long way in any industry!
I’ve worked in many environments where my product wasn’t the cheapest…. actually, probably all of them. But my teams win because we are passionate about people, go the extra mile, work for them even when we’re not making a dime and do everything we can to make as many connections as possible. There’s strength in numbers – connect as much as you can and try to support as many people as possible! You WILL win!
Carson V. Heady posts for “Consult Carson” serving as the “Dear Abby” of sales and sales leadership. You may post any question that puzzles you regarding sales and sales leadership careers: interviewing, the sales process, advancing and achieving. You will also be directly contributing to his third book, “A Salesman Forever.”
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Carson V. Heady has written a book entitled “Birth of a Salesman” that has a unique spin that shows you proven sales principles designed to birth in you the top producer you were born to be.
If you would like to strengthen your sales skills, go to http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ICRVMI2/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_yGXKtb0G28TWF