The competitor you hadn’t thought of and how to prepare yourself

Who is your competition? How many competitors do you have? Go ahead, think about it….I’ll wait.

Who did you list? If you are like most, you thought about people in your own industry, vertical, product space, and geography. When you counted them were you thinking of their physical locations? Did you do a quick count? 10? 20? 30? More?

Let’s think about this for a moment. What is it you are really competing for? It’s very easy to get get caught believing that we only compete against those that sell what we sell. That is simply not the case. The reality is that we are competing for three things in every deal: Time, Attention, and Resources. 

Ok……Now, how many competitors do you have? Yikes! When you call your prospect and ask for Time, you aren’t only competing for your deal in your space, you are competing with every other person trying to get on their calendar.  Imagine how unlikely it is that your impulsive ‘stop by’ or repeated cold calls will hit the target as intended and elicit the results you hope. The odds are certainly stacked against you.

Here is what that means to you:

  • Know who you’re calling. If you can find the person you had a crush on in high school on social media, certainly you can find a key decision maker in a multi million dollar company. Keep looking. The info is out there!
  • Get clear on your customer value prop. If you can’t articulate quickly and clearly how your company helps people, then the message will not be understood. Your prospect has no time for things they have to work to understand.
  • Have some sense of how your product or service may help them. You should have an example of a similar company you’ve helped. Providing something they can relate to will help them make the leap quickly so they can decide if they have time for you.
  • Make your contact about them. We know you’re awesome and have lots to brag about, but until you have started to gain your prospect’s trust, keep your conversations and questions centered around them. Prospects would rather talk about themselves and are likely to give you a bit more time to do so.
  • Be yourself and stay conversational. A script is good to get started, but scripts are best used to guide a conversation. If you are reading from your script, your prospect will know it.
  • Warm up that cold call. People make time for those they know, like, and trust. Try to get an introduction through a mutual acquaintance, try a LinkedIn connection, or maybe introduce yourself at a networking event.

Your prospect has minimal time and only so much attention to offer. When we realize we are competing for Time, Attention, and Resources our view of competition changes.  Changing our view on competition makes us more thoughtful about our initial approach. The reality is that time is precious for you too. Arming yourself with a true view of what you are up against will leave you better prepared and far more effective.

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Ideas, comments, and questions are always welcomed! Happy Selling!


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