Acquiring knowledge about your competitors is another important step towards developing your overall product knowledge. When we have knowledge of our competitor’s strengths and weaknesses, we are better able to emphasize the benefits that we offer and the value that we can add to the prospect's business. Prospects often raise specific questions concerning competitors, if we cannot provide the answers, or if the answers are in complete or vague, the sale may be lost.
Regardless of how impressive your product or services, the prospect naturally seeks information about similar products or services sold by other companies. Therefore, you must acquire facts about competing products and services before your sales presentation. This gets back to the required background information on the prospect, before the before the sales call is made.
It has never been easier to obtain information about the competitor’s products and services. You can check the competitor's website, press releases, and marketing material, most of this is readily available on the Internet and only a few clicks away. Once armed with this information, you are more confident in your ability to handle questions about the competition, and most importantly start to consider possible objections which relate to how your business stacks up against the competition.
How you display your knowledge of your competition is of the utmost importance, you should always develop a set of basic beliefs about the best way of dealing with competing products or services;
Some helpful guidelines would be:
- In most cases, do not refer to the competition during a sales presentation. This shifts the focus of attention to competing products, which is not usually desirable.
- Never discuss the competition unless you have or your facts straight. Your credibility suffers you make inaccurate statements.
- If you do not know the answer to a specific question, simply say that you do not know, however, you will find out and get back to the prospect.
- Never criticize the competition. You might be called upon to make direct comparisons between your product and other competing products. In these situations, stick to the facts and avoid emotional comments about apparent or real weaknesses in the competitors.
- Be prepared always to add value. The competition may come to your prospect with a competitive offer on price, delivery, or some other area. Be prepared to neutralize the competitor's proposal with an added value approach. If your competitor has slow delivery times, encourage the prospect to talk about why prompt delivery is important to them.
Prospects appreciate an accurate, fair, and honest presentation of the facts. They generally resent highly critical remarks about the competition. Avoid mudslinging at all cost; fairness is a virtue that people greatly admire.