When you sat down to figure out what the difference was between you and your competitors, what did you discover? Be honest. Most of us have not taken the time to think about it. If we have, there is some bad news. In most cases, we have the same apparent benefits as our competitor. However, we should be able to concentrate on 3 to 5 specific things that are different. File these away in your head. They have the potential to drive a wedge between our prospect and our competitor. When we ask assumptive questions that take our company’s strengths for granted, we create a situation where our prospect will discover why we might be a better fit.
We often find ourselves trying to explain to a prospect why our product or service is better than the competitors. “Our service is better.” “We’re number 1 in the industry.” “We’ve got the best prices.” These aren’t specific and everyone says these things. Do you honestly believe your competitor is saying, “Our service is poor, hardly anyone decides to work with us, and we are terribly overpriced.” No, our competitor is talking up the same features that we are, whether it is true or not. We need to get specific in what differentiates us. Really put some thought into what makes you different. Once we go below the surface, we discover that there are usually some key differences. Do you offer a monthly report on the status of a project? Do you guarantee estimate pricing? Do your customers have a direct line to someone who can solve a problem immediately? These are just examples, make sure that you discover some that are truly unique to your company. In addition to being unique, the feature must provide high payoff to the client in order to motivate them to make changes. If everyone in your industry guarantees estimate pricing then don’t use that. Every company has something unique. If our unique feature might be a benefit to the prospect it can be used as an advantage.
The problem is if we simply tell a prospect about our unique feature they frequently don’t believe us or don’t care. They have to discover these benefits on their own. So it is our job to guide them. Use an assumptive question about our competitor that guides them into discovering a benefit to working with us. “When ABC Company gives you a monthly report on the status of the project, are you frequently comfortable with the progress?” “After XYZ Company guaranteed the estimate price wouldn’t change, did you have any other pricing concerns?” “When your current personalized customer service rep replies to your calls within 24 hours, what is the greatest payoff for you?” These are just a few examples that let our prospect discover that there might be a deficiency in what our competitor is offering.
When we make an assumption that our prospect is getting a service unique to our company from a competitor and our prospect realizes that it is a service they are not being offered, it plants a seed of doubt about our competitor. When asked in an assumptive way it seems like they would be a fool not to get this service. It places us in a preferred position without ever directly attacking our competition. If we wedge enough doubts into our prospect about what a competitor can deliver then we will quickly splinter any possibility of losing the business and are free to go for the close.