Ten Tactics to Outsell the Competition

Ten Tactics to Outsell the Competition

“If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.  If you know yourself, but not the enemy, for every victory gained, you will also suffer a defeat.  If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will lose every battle.” – Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Companies working to establish market leadership in areas like big data, cloud computing and social networking have intensified the competitive landscape. They are not looking to peacefully co-exist, but to put each other out of business. Below are ten traits successful sellers use to stay offensive and win against the competition.

1 – Winning Mindset – Tough competitors have a winning mindset and sense of urgency.  They want to win more than the competition.  They also have the courage to be bold, if necessary.  They know that winning is not about closing deals at all costs.  It is about building long-term, profitable relationships based on integrity and trust.

2 – Continual Planning – Tough competitors continually plan and orchestrate.  They assume the competition will be focused and prepared, so they must be more focused and prepared.  They ask, what assets can I leverage (e.g., executives,  partners, etc.)?  What peers have faced this competitor or sold to this customer?

3 – Competitive Knowledge – Tough competitors know the enemy, including individuals involved. They want to know what relationships the competition has with the customer. They never disparage the competition. They help customers reach their own conclusions (e.g., Company X has no SLA, what is your plan if their service goes down?).

4 – Value Proposition – Tough competitors focus on understanding the customer’s business problem and the value proposition to solve it.  They work to differentiate their value proposition from the competition.  The value proposition includes the solution, as well as them as sellers (customer trusts seller to deliver).

5 – Communication Skills – Tough competitors have strong situational communication skills.  They know when to speak with conviction, when to listen, etc. They constantly read people and the room for both verbal and non-verbal clues. What questions is the decision-maker asking?  When are the influencers taking notes?  Etc.

6 – People Skills – Tough competitors have strong people skills.  They work to deliver personal wins to the advocates of the deal and mitigate the opposition.  They understand the power structure and work to proactively manage political dynamics.  Above all, they ensure that they are selling to the decision-maker(s).

7 – Gather Insight – Tough competitors constantly “helicopter” for customer insight that they can use to their advantage.  That is, they do not rely on one level of the company.  They move up, down and across the organization.  They never forget the decision-maker’s administrative assistant for key information and insights.

8 – Creative Deals – Tough competitors understand the customer’s financial profile.  They work to understand the negotiation win needs for the customer’s business and the decision-maker.  If possible, they shape the deal and negotiate accordingly to make it land better with the customer.

9 – Buying Story – Tough competitors help advocates and influencers create the buying story to sell internally to the decision-maker(s).  They are proactive about identifying the process for securing funds and cutting P.O.s.  They help to create the benefits and ROI message to make it happen.

10 – Stand Ground – Tough competitors are willing to stand their ground when a fair deal or the best deal possible has been structured with the customer.  During moments of truth, they are willing the walk away to remain credible if the customer asks for too much or is unreasonable.

All contents copyright © 2012, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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