Recently I moved my office and decided to shop my phone services. So I called the cable company and my current supplier, the phone company. When I connected with the cable guy, I told him who my current supplier was and I was thinking of possibly switching. So he proceeded to ask me blunt pricing questions about my current supplier, such as, “What do you pay for DSL?" or "What do they charge per line?” So after about two of these I said, “Why don’t you tell me about what you have and what you charge as opposed to your competitor.” So he was miffed, but continued to tell me about the cable company and its pricing.
This is a classic case of “competitor focus”. The cable guy wanted to know all about the phone company so that (I guess) he could show me what a better deal he had. If he were customer focused (and proficient at being customer focused) he would have ask me questions such as, “What do I like about the phone company?” or “What bothers me about the phone company?” or “What do I want to accomplish, by when, for how much?”
Buyers want a good price. There is no question or ever a doubt about that. However, buyers also want the seller to focus on them. A buyer doesn’t know that you know what s/he is thinking, (which you really don’t, although you think you do). And the best way to learn what the buyer wants is to have the buyer tell you what s/he is thinking. The subtlety of asking, “What do you want to pay?” as blunt or absurd as you think it is, verses “What’s the competitor charging?” makes all the difference to a buyer.
In selling, competition isn’t your enemy, nor should it be your focus. The buyer is the target and should be your focus. Selling is not a winner and a loser although at times it feels that way. There may be many competitors and different forms of competition. The buyer may decide not to buy or completely change the specifications - meaning all competitors lose.
Selling is more of an election. You need to win over the voter by showing you have what each one wants. Most times the buyer doesn’t really know what s/he wants, which is a whole other topic. It’s not enough to show that yours is better than the other suppliers because that may not be the real reason the customer is buying. But if you find out what that reason is and what the buyer is thinking, then you can show that yours will work for him and her. This will be good enough to win over that voter even if your price isn’t the lowest and/or you service isn’t the “best”.
As you move from one buyer to multiple buyers - as in business to business sales, this process gets more complicated. However if you concentrate on the buyers, they will tell you how to win them over. You don’t even have to know who the competition is and you will still win the order. See, it’s not about beating competition, it’s about winning over buyers.
To become better with winning selling strategies click these links - advanced selling and relationship selling and getting to the c-level and executive decision makers - and study the articles, buy the books or CDs or manuals and practice the concepts. Your closing ratio will skyrocket.
Buy the way I didn't buy from the cable guy, even though his pricing was better.