Written by Sean McPheat |
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!
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Originally published: 14 June, 2010