If focusing on your competitor would improve your sales results, it would be worth the time spent talking about them and the emotional energy invested. Your results, however, are not changed by this outward focus on what your competitor does.
They Compete on Price
Let’s deal with the big one here first: Your competitor’s price is lower than yours. In fact, it’s much lower. In some cases, it is irrationally low and difficult for you to understand how they make enough money to exist. They use price as their primary value, and in doing so, they treat the business like a commodity play.
There is nothing you can do about their pricing or profitability. Nor can you ask them to leave the market so they’ll stop reinforcing the commoditization of your industry (well, you can ask, but it isn’t likely they agree to shutter up their buildings and go home). Because you cannot do anything about their pricing, there is no reason for you to focus on pricing.
On to the second factor here that causes you problems: Your competitor lies. They promise your shared marketplace that they are better than you, faster than you, and cheaper than you. They make promises that no one in the industry can possibly keep, and some of your shared prospective clients believe them.
While lying is a horrible thing to do and terrible for business overall, you cannot stop your competitor from doing it. You are not a party to that lie, and you have no standing in any complaint, legal or otherwise. There is nothing for you to do here.
They Have Bad Business Practices
The third factor that upsets you: Their business practices are sketchy. They don’t comply with the rules and regulations you follow. They don’t follow the industry standard codes and guidelines. In fact, they color so far outside of the lines that is difficult to believe that there are any lines at all. You can’t do these things to gain an advantage because your company is high trust, high value, and high caring.
Your competitor is going to do things that you cannot and will not because they can and because they will. This has nothing whatsoever to do with you, and there is nothing that you are going to do to change it.
The Only Thing You Can Do
There is only one thing that you can focus on to beat your competitor for deals, and that one thing is you and how you sell.
You win when you create greater value and justify the delta between your competitor’s price and yours, explaining in a way that is both clear and compelling what they give up by investing less.
You win when you poison the well by explaining how certain things can’t be done, why they can’t be done, and how there are people who suggest that they can do these things who you follow to pick up the pieces (without naming names, and without any sour grapes).
You win when you develop the reputation of being a trusted partner, doing the things that you are supposed to do when you are supposed to do them, and how they are supposed to be done.
None of this has anything to do with your competitor. There is no reason to let your competitor live rent-free in your head, carrying them around with you into every meeting. Instead, decide to be so good that they have to think about how they are going to beat you.
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Filed under: Sales