Turn Your Proposition Weaknesses Into Strengths

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Value proposition graphMany salespeople have nightmares when trying to present solutions to their prospects because they perceive their competitors are stronger than them in certain areas, or their prices are higher and they are convinced the buyers will always go for the cheaper option.

The perceived weaknesses you have will prove costly if you consider them to be reality.

They will come across as weaknesses in your presentation.

You will sound weak when you present and this will strike a dissonant chord in your prospect’s perception.

Anything that makes you sound weak will create white noise in the prospect’s listening ability, and cause them to become concerned at the risks you may be asking them to make.

So, what can you do if you have a perceived weakness in your offering?

How can you make your proposition sound stronger?

Here are five tips:

1) You fear getting rejected

This is an obvious weakness for many salespeople because any rejection becomes personal and it affects them and their persona.

It becomes a rock tied around their neck, as they acquaint rejection with failure.

Turn it into a strength: Develop the mindset of persistence

The only way you will overcome the fear of rejection and turn it into a strength is by reframing the whole concept of negative responses form prospects.

You do this by seeing any rejection as not personal, but a rejection of your product or service.

By developing persistence, you become more stiff-necked and resilient.

If someone says ‘no’ it simply means you learn from it, push on and deal with the next prospect in a different way.

Remember, most prospects reject the pitch, not you!

2) They don’t know you

This could cause you to feel weak because you’re not known in your industry, and you might have to start from scratch. (By the way, don’t start any discussion with a prospect by asking ‘Do you know us?’ It actually makes no difference if they do or don’t to your proposal)

Turn it into a strength: They can’t have anything negative to say about you

If they do know about you, and they have heard some bad reports or see your TrustPilot scores are down or have seen some feedback on social media, it would be most difficult for you to turn it around.

Not knowing anything about you gives you a clean slate and it’s then possible for you to start writing some great ideas based on this clean sheet of paper.

3) You’re more expensive than a competitor they are using

This is always a salesperson’s nightmare, as the current supplier may have built a strong relationship with the prospect.

It often transpires that the prospect didn’t choose the cheapest supplier when they made their last choice, but you won’t know that if the conversation simply gets round to prices.

Turn it into a strength: You can supply better value than the competitor

This presupposes you have done the necessary homework and have found what is most important to the prospect.

Something they consider valuable will more often and not overcome the need to just have the cheapest price, so you have to work out how your ‘costs’ are different and actually can work out better and cheaper in the long run for their business.

By identifying what is valuable to them and their business, you actually turn a weakness (your higher price) into a strength (your overall lower costs).

4) You’re up against a larger firm

Being larger may mean the competing firm has more resources than you have, maybe have been in business longer than you or is able to offer more options or choices than you can.

It can be seen as a weakness to a prospect who likes choice and the security of a bigger firm to do business with.

Turn it into a strength: Use your smaller size to be more agile and flexible than the bigger firm

This means working on what you do best, being able to respond quicker to changes in market demands and become more adept at maneuvering to the needs of the prospect.

If they require a quick change, your response can be just the one the prospect needs.

This could well be a major influence in who the buyer decides to use as a solution.

5) Your dealing against better service or products

This could be considered such a weakness that you decide not to even try if the prospect is using a competitor’s products.

Why even bother if you can’t compete on features or benefits or advantages?

Turn it into a strength: Could your back-up services or credit terms or discount structure be more important to these prospects?

This means that, even though your quality may not be able to be as high as a competitor’s, you still have differentials that will mean just as much, if not more, to a buyer.

Your terms could be advantageous to those businesses who have cash-flow problems, or your back-up processes may be attractive to those businesses who have experienced poor service from others in the past.

Remember; you don’t necessarily have to be better than others…you just need to be different.

If you perceive some weaknesses in your proposal, you must see how you can turn those round into a series of strengths.

If YOU can’t see the strengths that your company has, how can you expect your prospects to see them?

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director
MTD Sales Training 

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 12 November, 2018

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