Dancing with the competition? Watch your step.

Dancing with the competition? Watch your step.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

Dancing with the competition?
Watch your step.

An excerpt from Jeffrey’s Sales Bible: New Edition

How do you feel about your competitors? You say, “I have a great relationship with my competitors.”

Right. If you needed $50,000 or your business would fold, I guarantee your friend (the competitor) would send you a bon voyage note.

GET REAL: Competitors may talk to you, they may be civil to you, andthey may even appear to help you — but ask them if they wish you weredead or alive, and I’m betting on the funeral home.

‘They help me’ and ‘They send me business’ and ‘They call me to discusscommon problems’ and ‘There’s enough business for everyone’ — all arestatements your competitors are hoping you’ll say while theysystematically plan to destroy you. That’s life in the jungle ofbusiness (and especially sales).

Friendly competition — there’s a good one. “Now let’s play fair. I gotthe last sale, so you can have this one.” I don’t think so. Friendlycompetition is kinda like friendly snakes. They’ll turn and bite you ina heartbeat, and it’s real tricky to tell the poisonous ones from the safe ones.

Competition is a lot like an unknown snake. Potentially poisonous, notsomeone you want to get real close to, it’s best to know all you canabout them, respect ’em, and always carry a snake bite kit with you –just in case.

Facts about the competition and their feelings about you:

  • Some are okay.
  • Some will cooperate.
  • Some are ethical.
  • Some like competition.
  • Some will like you.
  • Some will trade business with you.
  • Some will help you.
  • Most won’t. Most don’t like you.

Here’s how to deal with competition:

  • Know where they stand in the market.
  • Know who their major customers are.
  • Are they taking business from you, or are you taking business from them?
  • Have they captured any of your employees?
  • Get every piece of their information (sales literature, brochures).
  • Get their prices.
  • Shop them every quarter. Know how they sell and what they feature.
  • Identify where they are weaker than you and play on it.
  • Learn where they are stronger than you and fix it… IMMEDIATELY.

When you are up against competition on a sales call:

  • Never say anything bad about them, even if the prospect does.
  • Praise them as worthy competition.
  • Show them respect.
  • Show how you differ — how your benefits are better.
  • Stress your strengths, not their weaknesses.
  • Show a testimonial from a customer who switched to you.
  • Maintain your ethics and professionalism at all times — even if it means biting your tongue until it bleeds.

“Competition does not mean war. It means learn. It means prepare. It means be your best.”