My good friend, David Brock, chafes when I refer to sales as a blood sport. It is hyperbole for sure, but I do think it makes the point that sales is a zero sum game; one salesperson wins the deal, the rest of the competing salespeople lose the deal.
David’s point is well taken here. Much of the time, we lose deals because we haven’t focused enough on what we can control or because we have made some error . This is true . . . except when it isn’t.
Professional salespeople are ferocious competitors, and you have to assume that they are trying to beat you. They are arming themselves with the best tools that they can to win business and to beat you.
To win in sales, you have to arm yourself for the competition.
Arming Yourself: Personal Development
Know that your competitors are working to get better every day. If you are not developing the foundational attributes of success, you are losing ground.
Arming Yourself: Professional Development
The foundational attributes and skills that help you succeed are the platform from which you can develop the professional skills that you need to compete and win. As a salesperson, your professional development requires that you:
Read books, magazines, and blogs on sales, marketing, psychology, and business. (actually reading anything can and will help with your professional development). Listen to audio books on sales, marketing, psychology and business. Take training courses on sales. Attend webinars on sales and sales-related topics. Think deeply about what you do and how you do it.
Your competitors are reading, studying, and continuously learning. They are doing so to improve their ability to win deals—and to take your dream clients away from you. If you are not working on developing your professional sales skills, you are becoming increasingly vulnerable to your competitors who are arming themselves professionally.
Arming Yourself: Sales Process
Arming yourself with a better sales process can help you produce better results for you, your company, and your dream clients. A good sales process can provide you with a competitive advantage in knowing how to create value for your clients at every stage of the deal—and every stage of their buying process.
Your sales process requires you to think outside the boxes and to be resourceful. And for it truly be the kind of competitive advantage you need in order to arm yourself, you need to revise it regularly. You need to spend the time to make the distinctions that allow you to improve your process and to arm yourself with the best methodology and tools available.
Your competitors have a sales process. They are using it to try to create more value for your dream clients than you can. Your best competitors are thoughtful, reviewing their sales calls and opportunities to discover where their sales process and its execution can be improved. Arm yourself with a process and revise it regularly.
Arming Yourself: Proof Providers
Your competitors have done the analysis. They know how to prove that they can provide better results. They have their dream clients standing by to take your dream client’s reference call.
They are not afraid to use their proof providers to beat you in a competition. They aren’t afraid to put up an ROI analysis to prove the value they create in financial terms—even when the dream client’s problem is a service issue.
In order to compete head-to-head, you need to arm yourself with the proof providers that prove that you are the best—and safest—choice for ensuring that your dream client achieves the outcomes they require.
Your competitors are arming themselves with the best tools they can in order to beat you. In order to effectively compete and win, you have to arm yourself with the best tools that you possibly can, including your own personal development, your own professional development, your own sales process, and your own proof providers (among other things).
- What are the tools (or weapons, if you prefer) that your competitors are using to try and beat you?
- What tools do your competitors use that most often beats you in some category?
- What tools do your competitors use that you wish that you had? What’s stopping you from developing the same tool (or a better version)?
- What is it that most helps you win over your competitors? How easy might it be for them to arm themselves with the same?
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