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Sales Solutions
Beating the Competition vol 2, issue #20
November 1, 2004

So there your are, in the middle of a competition for a big deal, in a complex selling situation once again up against one of your two strongest competitors. While you've won your share of deals against them, you haven't had nearly the success at beating them on a consistent basis you know you should. That you know you could. Why is that? This sales tip will help you figure that out.

Before reading on (no peeking!), write down on a piece of paper what you're going to need to determine in order to improve your odds of winning against this competitor.

  1. What the prospect organization hopes to achieve with an investment in your product or service

  2. Who's involved in the evaluation, and who makes the decision

  3. What the personal needs and agendas of these individuals are

  4. The relative influence and authority of these people as regards this decision

  5. The actual and disadvantages of your offering via a vis each of the competitors

  6. How each individual perceives you in relation to your competitors (particularly the influential ones)

How many of you included one of the above? Two of them? Three? Four? Five? All six of them? Well, I would hope that you'd have, at the very least, included numbers 1 and 2. And number 5, too. But I'll bet very few of you wrote down numbers 3, 4, and 6. Why are these important - no, critical - to winning in competitive situations? Because while organizations buy for business needs (#1), individuals make decisions with their own self-interest in mind based on WIIFT (what's in it for them). Which means you need to determine what motivates them, so you can tailor your "pitch" to their specific needs, focusing particularly on those individuals who will have more of a say in the matter (#4). Number 6 is important because perception is reality - even if you may be "better" than your competitor, if an (influential) individual believes (perceives) that you are not, then he won't be "voting" for you when his opinion is asked.


Pick a deal in which you find yourself (or anticipate finding yourself) in a dog fight. Ask yourself each of the questions above. Do you know the answer to each? If not, get the answers to the ones you don't. Then go get those individuals who are not yet on board with you on board.

Good Selling!

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