3. Don’t berate your competition
I'm speaking on this topic next week at an SAO event. Let me start now by saying – this way lies ruin. Talking negatively about your competition is a losing game and can make you look petty. If your competition is all the negative things you claim then surely your client will discover this on their own. Let them.
The best approach is to stay focused on your products/services and sell the benefits of those to your clients. However, if you feel you must inform your client of the shortcomings of a
competitor here are a few ways to do it without coming across as being unfairly negative.
- Highlight differentiators. Emphasize aspects of your product you know are better or different from those of your competitors. Ask your client to compare the differences.
- Line up your references. This is when your references really pay off. Let them make the case for you. The best position to be in is if you have a client that considered your competition or was actually using them before deciding to work with you. Have your reference list all the negative aspects of the competitor for you. This way it won't look like biased feedback coming from you.
- Establish a leadership position. Collect all of your positive PR, create white papers, or start a blog on topics your clients care about. Present this information to your client and tell them to ask for the same from your competition. If your competitor cannot provide the same/similar material you will look more established and trusted to your client.
4. Don’t oversell.
Did you ever see that episode of Seinfeld where George would leave the room whenever he said something funny in order to perpetuate an image of being
funny? This is pretty much what I'm talking about. It is crucial to learn to recognize the point where you have won your client's business. If your client starts asking questions about the solution instead of questions about your company, you are usually in good shape.
Sadly, I've actually been a part of losing a deal because another sales
rep said some things the client took the wrong way – all after we had
the deal. This was a very painful but valuable lesson to learn. The summary – when you get the sale stop selling. That simple.