In yesterday’s post I had written about how some of the dialogues you can use to identify other stake holders involved in a B2B sale. Just to reiterate – no B2B sale (until its a relatively low value item) can happen with a team of people taking a decision together. The sooner you can figure that out the lesser time you will waste on the wrong accounts.
Since a sales person’s income is based on the amount of income she can generate through incentives, if she wastes time on the accounts where the chance of making a sale are low, she will not be able to get incentives.
Now coming to the other issue of identifying the competition.
The reason I took, identifying people as the first step, is because, the more people you can pick information from, the more is the chance that you will have a clearer picture of both the challenges in the account as well as the competition.
Once you have mapped the people the most simple way to find out competition is to ask ” your compliance process may not allow you to only look at my solution -what other options are you considering”. By asking a question in this fashion the prospect has little room to wriggle out. If they say they don’t have to bother about compliances, you have a red flag – any public listed or venture capital / private equity backed company will have to have strong compliances in place. So they will have to tell you if they have already identified the competition or they are still looking for someone, but you will be able to get info. Now based on your experience you can position your relative strengths.
Its also important to know if they are considering other ways to solve the problem – consider Porter’s competing forces framework – you could buy printers to take printouts or you could take a service without spending capital in buying printers and get the same printouts. Only the method of procuring changes from one time to ongoing, the outcome is the same for the customer, but if you are selling printers then you lose this order.
The last item which I would definitely advice all sales people is to not be a “know it all”. Be hungry to pick up inputs from all your prospects. They can train you more than, all you internal trainings , on what the competition is offering in the market. Being willing to listen is a very big advantage in sales.
Till next time then.