Meet Kate. Although she’s been a good sales performer at her company, a capital equipment manufacturer, she struggles when deals get very competitive. And deals are getting more and more competitive. In her market, very little separates product offering from product offering. After a recent hard-fought loss, her manager invited us to interview her to conduct a post mortem to figure out why things ended up the way they did.
“I’m pretty sure,” Kate told us, “that our price was not competitive. These guys were just very budget conscious.” We are not exactly cynical, but we would be lying if we said we were surprised by her answer. It’s been our experience that “price” is the default culprit when things go south. And to be fair to Kate, it was probably part of the answer. But we had a hunch there was more to the story.
We asked, “What were the customer’s other decision criteria, apart from price?”
With a blank stare, Kate replied: “Um, well maintenance and reliability were probably important. But we’re pretty much equal with Acme.”
“Does the customer see it that way?”
“Well, they should.”
“Okay, maybe they should,” we said. “But do they?”
“I don’t know.”
“What were the other criteria?” we asked.
“I am not sure.”
Kate’s discomfort was obvious, so we backed off. And to be fair to Kate, she is hardly the only salesperson who’s lost (or even won) a deal who did not know why. Many salespeople operating in a heavily competitive landscape amongst aggressive competitors are simply unaware of how customers are making their final decisions. They have theories. They have hypotheses. They have hunches. But they do not have real answers. And that is a very big problem.
Our next webinar, Competitive Threats: Influencing Decision Criteria in your Favor will show you how top performers uncover their customers’ decision criteria, understand how their customers view the competitive landscape and effectively influence things in their favor. By attending this webinar, you will:
- Determine how customers choose between available alternatives using Decision Criteria.
- Understand when, in the buying journey, customers begin to involve salespeople and how that impacts the salesperson’s ability to influence the Decision Criteria the customer uses.
- Learn how to uncover, assess and develop the customer’s Decision Criteria.
- Learn how to develop strategies to leverage strengths and minimize weaknesses in a competitive selling situation.
- Get introduced to a strategic planning tool that allows for continual assessment and improvement of the competitive position inside an opportunity.
Register here to learn more: Ignite Selling Webinars
We love hearing about your most persistent competitive challenges, tweet to us using hashtag #competitivethreats.