8 Questions That Will Help You Sell Your Uniqueness- Video Blog

How many times have you been told to sell your USP? Many sales people struggle with this as they have very little (if anything) that is unique to their business. The competition sells similar products, the guarantees are the same, the services differ very little.

So how can you sell something that is unique to you? Watch this short video to find out the answers.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

www.mtdsalestraining.com

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A New Perspective On Researching The Competition

One thing that salespeople have to do in abundance is to research the competition.

But there is another mindset that you can work on that will offer a different perspective on things.

Most salespeople will carry out research on their competition. They try to keep up to date with what offers the competition are making to current and future prospects. They determine how they can build their brand to counteract any ideas the competition are coming up with. And they talk to clients who may be using the competition’s products and services to ascertain what they need to do to keep ahead and on top.

But knowing who the competition is and what you’re competing for is not enough these days. You must know enough about them to be prepared ahead of time for the kind of arguments they will put up to prospects. You must identify the direction they are going, rather than where they are now.

Watch their Facebook pages and their Twitter comments. Follow their LinkedIn company pages to see who is joining them and what their latest news is. Follow them on Google Alerts so you know exactly what they are doing before they can take it out to the market place.

But the mindset you need to occupy as you do your research is to research yourself as if you were the opposition. This means figuring out what your competition will say about YOU. You also have to confront your own weaknesses and face up to them, so if prospects bring them up, you are aware and can deal with them.

What weaknesses will your competition expose? How can you combat them? If they ferret out your weaknesses, know what they’re doing. Look at your own website and identify any shortfalls. See what image your LinkedIn company page displays. Go through your own profile to see what the opposition could bring up.

By highlighting areas that your competition may bring up, you can start analysing what needs to change, and the research can concentrate on what you need to do to improve your position in the market place.

Happy Selling!

Sean McPheat

Managing Director

MTD Sales Training

www.mtdsalestraining.com

(Image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

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Techy Tuesday – Be In The Know With Google Alerts

When the Google.com domain first went online in 1997, few could have guessed it would soon become the massive online entity that it is today. With over 620 million visitors to the site every day, who produce more than 87 billion worldwide searches every month, Google should be considered any business’ first point of call when it comes to building a successful online presence.

Thankfully, Google provides you with a whole heap of fantastic tools to help you boost your business through the site – so this week I have been taking a closer look at Google Alerts, to show you how you can make the most of this brilliant free tool.

Google Alerts allows you to create free searches related to yourself, your company and the products or services you provide which run continuously.

So how can this tool help the modern day sales professional and business owner?

Well, each time there is something new found in the Google search you can be notified by email, meaning that you can continuously track the success of your online presence.

By setting up Google Alerts for your name, the name of your business, your competitors’ names, your client’s names and key phrases related to your company and the products or services you provide you can be involved in the whole world of news and discussion surrounding your business.

Google Alerts can help you to manage your reputation online. If someone mentions you, your company or products and services you are informed of this and can track and monitor any further updates or discussions closely.

With Google Alerts, you can track what the competition is doing and find out about the latest news and developments within your industry, so you’ll never miss a trick.

Also, by searching for related keywords surrounding what you sell you can find out what discussions are taking place online and where, and then go in and enter these conversations – enabling you to engage with potential buyers and create qualified leads for your business.

If you haven’t got Google Alerts set up already I urge you to get started today, as this is a great tool for gathering online intelligence and listening out for potential opportunities.  Head to http://www.google.com/alerts to see what this tool can do for your business.

That’s all for now folks, see you again soon for another Techy Tuesday.

Regards,

Louise

Louise Denny

Marketing Manager

(Image by Ari Herzog)

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What To Do When The Prospect Blames You For Your Competitors’ Failures

What do you do when the prospect wants to hold you accountable for a problem caused by one of your competitors?  The prospect had a bad experience with a company that sells the same product as you, and is convinced that doing business with you will have the same result.

Guilty By Association
Below is a way to handle the situation where the prospect finds you guilty just by associating in the same industry as the culprit.  Be forewarned however, the following technique requires that you really know your stuff.  This is for professionals only!

Two Possibilities
When a prospective customer has negative experiences in your field, there are only two avenues to approach the problem:

#1 – The situation is one that is common in the industry
#2 – The situation is not common or is an isolated incident

#1 – The situation is one that is common in the industry
As a professional sales person you should know everything there is to possibly know about your competition and your industry.  You should already know if there is a competitor who is supplying substandard products or services in your business.  Therefore, you should already be prepared to meet a prospect who has had such a bad experience and will use it as an objection.

If the problem is common knowledge, then you need to anticipate and overcome the objection early in the sales interaction.  If you wait until the prospect brings up the negative situation and associates you with it, it is too late.  You are then forced to defend yourself and bash the competition, both of which push you and the prospect further apart.

The Bad Widget Company
Let us assume that you sell widgets and as a true professional, you are aware that your competitor, Old Fashioned Widgets, uses an outdated manufacturing process and therefore has many unsatisfied customers.

If you wait until the prospect raises the issue and accuses you, you will have to defend yourself and consequently degrade your own industry.

Prospect:         “It looks good, but I bought some of those same types of widgets before from Old Fashioned, and they said the same thing you are saying.  I had nothing but costly problems.  I don’t think I want to go down that road again.”

Sales Person: “I understand, Mr Prospect.  But we are not Old Fashioned.  We use a more modern manufacturing process than Old Fashioned.  They are not as up to date as us, so many of their widgets fail…”

While this sounds like it makes sense, you are actually acknowledging the fact that there are widget companies that sell unsatisfactory products.  Therefore, the entire widget industry becomes suspect, and that includes you and your company.

Bring Up the History Early
Instead of waiting to defend against the accusation, raise the issue as a positive, early in your sales interaction.

Sales Person: “This is our plant, Mr Prospect.  Not only is it one of the largest in the industry, but it is the most modern.  We completely re-tooled so that we now use the silicon-based insertion rather than the outdated moving gears.  Some companies today still use the moving gears which cannot keep up to the stresses of today’s machines.   I have many clients who had problems with those older style widgets and I am glad I was able to help them.”

Prospect:         “Now that you mention it, I had problems with those widgets.  I bought some from Old Fashioned and you are right, they failed…”

In this way, you stay above the issue as an industry leader and avoid creating an adversarial atmosphere.   So, when there is history of the problem, address it early.

However,  what do you do when the prospect has had a bad experience that is unusual and that you never knew existed?  What do you do when the problem seems be an isolated incident?

Posting October 21, 2011:
What To Do When The Prospect Blames You, Part II

Happy Selling

Sean

Sean McPheat
Bestselling Author, Sales Authority & Speaker On Modern Day Selling Methods

MTD Sales Training

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3 Ideas for Selling Against The Competition

Many questions we get asked here at MTD revolve around selling against the competition. If prospects mention they are talking to other suppliers, how should you handle it? What’s the best way to approach the subject without it sounding apologetic or obviously downgrading their capabilities?

The best way is to define how the competition are good, but only in specific areas that wouldn’t be of any use to your prospect. If the prospect were in different circumstances, maybe the competitor would be right, but not in the situation they are currently facing.

And of course, your prospect doesn’t face those conditions.

Now, this means you have to do your homework and know what the competition is doing. Get onto Google Alerts to give yourself the updates you need before your clients get to hear about it. Learn what the competition is doing to counteract your offerings. Be aware of what specials they are working on. Only by doing these things will you be able to use this technique with your clients and prospects.

Try these ideas:

1) Discuss how the market has changed recently, especially in the prospect’s industry, and how the competitor may have been up-to-date until a year or two ago, but now they are languishing behind your product’s abilities to match the prospect’s needs

2) If technology, innovation and economic realities have revolutionised the way that you and your clients do business, make sure you emphasise how your products and services are way ahead of your competitors in ways that add value to what your prospect can offer their customers

3) By identifying changes that have actually happened, you convince your prospect that times have changed and you are fitter and smarter to help them in the future. Remember, they probably chose your competitor at that time because it was right for them at that time. Because this is a different era, you can convince them that a decision made months or years ago was right then, but the decision now needs to be (must be) different. You can congratulate them on seeking out different suppliers because it is the right thing to do now that massive changes have happened in the market place.

Ideas like these help your prospect see that they are making a good decision in seeking out changes to their current supplier base. That’s the first step to laying the foundation for change with your prospects if they are using or thinking of using your competitors.

Happy Selling

Sean

Sean McPheat
The UK’s #1 Authority On Modern Day Selling
MTD Sales Training

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Selling Against Competition

You know that your products and services are better than your competition. You’ve checked them out and done your homework. You’ve seen off many competitors and they’ve bitten the dust in your wake. So why on earth would customers still use them instead of you? Unbelievable, yeah?

Well, looking at it from the customer’s perspective, they obviously had a very good reason for choosing them in the first place. And it’s your job to find out those reasons so you can identify the best way to assist your customer in seeing the light and finally jumping ship to the safe harbours of being your partner!

And this is said only half tongue-in-cheek. If you know your customer would be better off with you rather than a competitor, you have to be able to convince them to convince themselves. Your sales talk about your new widget will fall on deaf ears unless you create a feeling of discomfort with their current situation first. When you are selling against competition, you need to know how your customer thinks.

So, find out what criteria your prospect uses in choosing their supplier. When you know what’s important, start exploring to what degree his expectations and needs are being met, based on those criteria.

Here are some example questions:

“How does your ideal situation compare with your current situation?”

“When you originally started working with ABC Ltd, what were your selection criteria? Have they changed over the time you’ve used them? What would you like to see in the future?”

“How would you rate your current relationship with them, from 0-10? What would have to happen for it to be a higher score?”

“In what ways could ABC Ltd align themselves more with your goals?”

These and similar questions will help you identify niches you could find that could be filled by your products and services. You’re getting the customer to see chinks in the armour that could be fixed by what you have to offer. And then they’ll be grateful you helped them save money, serve their customers better and become more profitable. Another satisfied customer!

Happy selling!

Sean

Sean McPheat
The UK’s #1 Authority On Modern Day Selling
MTD Sales Training

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Keep Your Friends Close And Your Enemies Even Closer

 

For those of you that have been on any of my 121 coaching or consulting programmes and have gotten to know the “Real Sean” (whatever that means!) then:

A. You know that I’m a big fan of the The Godfather films!

and

B. You also know that I am obsessive about knowing all there
is to know about the competition

Now these two points actually came together nicely when Michael Corleone (played by Al Pacino) said in the movie:

“Keep your friends close and your enemies even closer”

You see, you need to know everything there is to know about your competition. And I am VERY big on this.

My question to you is this:

What are you doing on a monthly basis to keep your enemies even closer?

Forget about sales techniques, tips and strategies for a moment and focus in on your competition.

Here are some areas that you SHOULD know. If I called you right now and asked you about these questions or areas you should be able to tell me the answers without hesitation.

Are you ready?

Now this is not an exhaustive list but it will give you an idea of what I mean by keeping the enemy close!

Here goes:

When was the last time that you stood in your own queues and mystery shopped your own company?

What is easy? What did you learn?

Who are your top 5 competitors?

When was the last time that you stood in their queues and mystery shopped them as a prospect?

Where are they based? How many staff do they have?
How much do they turnover? What’s their profits?

What products and services do they offer that are:
A. The same as yours
B. Different to yours

What are their key USP’s? Per company and per product and service?

How much do they cost? Are there any fluctuations in the prices they charge?

What do their proposals look like? What are their payment terms?

What was their speed of response for email enquiries? What did the email say? Did you get an email response to an email enquiry or did they call you?

Did you speak to a receptionist when you called them? Were you put through to the “sales department”?

When did you call your competition and say “I love your product but I also like ABC’s product too (where ABC is your company/product) Please can you tell me the differences between your company and theirs? (This gets you to know what the competition are saying to the same prospects you are
going after about you)

In summary:

You get the picture here! There are many other areas and questions to explore.

But you need to know the competition inside out (and don’t forget you need to do this type of thing with all of the information about your industry as a whole too! But I’ll leave that for another time)

There are many ways to do all of the above and I must admit I am a master at it! (So modest in my old age)

So, are you keeping your enemies close? Or are you so busy sorting your own house out that you are neglecting this very important area.

If you are, don’t beat yourself up about it but you need to start now. In a changing economy “your enemy” might be constantly changing what they are doing to stay ahead of the game – you need to know this and then go one better.

Action:
Get some base level knowledge about all of the areas above and then schedule in a couple of days each quarter to revisit your intelligence and go again.

Happy Selling!

Sean

Sean McPheat
MTD Sales Training

Telephone: 0800 849 6732

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