How your competitor sells, helps you sell. more.

How your competitor sells, helps you sell. more.

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

How your competitor sells, helps you sell… more.

Do you ever wonder what the competition does? How they sell? What they say? What they say about you?

Well, you can’t always know what they say, but you can always know how they sell. And how they sell is critical to what you must sell against.

Most salespeople they never think about how the other person sells. They are more worried about the “price” they are up against. Big mistake.

Can you imagine boxers, football players, or tennis pros not knowing everything about their opponents before the big game or match? In the realm of professional sports, that’s not even an option. Videotapes recorded from every conceivable angle are reviewed, consultants are brought in, and a game plan is constructed.

Enter the innovative new book on selling, How Winners Sell, by David Stein. The book’s subtitle is: 21 Proven Strategies to Outsell the Competition and Win the Big Sale. Cool.

This is not just a well thought out book, it’s clear, concise answers that will help people while they’re selling.

In what Stein calls “Level-3 information”, he explains all about your competition’s sales strategy and execution. It’s about how the sales rep who goes head to head with you, plays the sales game – and the powerful questions you MUST ask yourself to find the answers from the prospect. Here they are:

  • What is your counterpart’s typical sales process? Has her company adapted any of the well-known methodologies? If so, you can anticipate her approach.
  • Does she wrestle for control of the evaluation process or decision criteria?
  • How is she measured and compensated? How a rep is compensated is often a factor in how aggressively she sells.
  • How much information does she typically gather on her prospects? Is she well informed, bartering that information for access and more information?
  • What does she count on to win? For example she may be a strong relationship builder.
  • What does your competitor say about you and your company? Do they “negative sell?”
  • Does she keep her promises? Does she misrepresent her product, service, or company capabilities? Or is she highly principled, counting on her integrity as an advantage?
  • How long have she and her team been employed by her company? Does she have a solid track record, or has she been doing a lot of job hopping, perhaps leaving unhappy customers behind?
  • What does your competitor do to hide weaknesses in her product, service, or company? How might you professionally set her up for embarrassment or failure?

    Wow – those are questions. Where the heck do you get those answers? Read on: Where to get Level 3 information:

  • Attend the next bidder’s conference and learn the name of the person you’re competing against.
  • Ask someone you’re on good terms with in your prospect’s company to talk to you about the value you’re providing during their evaluation. Lead into some questions about your opponents.
  • Call someone who used to work with your competitor but is now working for someone else.
  • Ask a mutual vendor in common. Finding a supplier can often prove more valuable than any other source. Often vendors have accompanied the salespeople on a call.
  • Call up any recruiters you’ve worked with. They may know your competitors personally. If not, they may know someone who does.
  • Find a few disgruntled customers of theirs and ask them.

    Stein concludes the section with: “Maintaining enough competitive intelligence to make a difference is a task that never ends. That’s why you have to get into a competitive state of mind. The winners will tell you that you don’t have much choice.”

    This “level three” information is the highest Stein offers in the book. What makes it level three is that it’s the hardest to obtain, and the most valuable once you have it. It is a huge competitive advantage to know your opponents approach and strategy. And it’s a hidden treasure in the hunt for the sale.

    You know, everyone wants to be a winner. In sales the second place finisher is the “first loser.” Stein’s book title “How Winners Sell,” makes it a compelling read. And once you begin to read, the book contents make you think and act like a winner based on other winners experiences. A very solid approach to the selling process. Wanna win more? Read the book!

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    Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The Sales Bible, and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless, Customer Loyalty is Priceless. President of Charlotte-based Buy Gitomer, he gives seminars, runs annual sales meetings, and conducts internet training programs on selling and customer service at He can be reached at 704/333-1112 or e-mail to