salespeoplecompeteeffectivelyI was talking with a physician about the dilemma associated with the primary care physician business today.  She likes maintaining an independent business, but it is more difficult to do that cost effectively.  And what she is also up against is the large advertising budget that large healthcare systems have.  Well you might be saying, what does this have to do with my business?  Doctors don’t have to sell.  Well, it has everything to do with your business if you are a typical small or medium sized business where there is a very large competitor in the market.

If you are in this situation where you have to sell against the “giant” in your industry, help your salespeople get focused.  They can get in a rut associated with always having to sell against them.  If the competitor has a large advertising budget and you do not, it can wear on the salespeople to always see them in the market and have to defend your company against them.  They might get in the habit of bad-mouthing the competition (even if you tell them not to).

Rather than play the victim to the larger “Goliath”, teach your folks how to fight back with the special talents they have.  Teach them to become “David”.  Here’s what I mean.  If you are finding the competition heating up, dedicate a sales meeting to the topic.  Or even hold a separate special war room session to work on your battle plans.  Spend the time listing all your company’s attributes, the benefits to your clients of those attributes, and the negative of what happens to prospects that don’t take advantage of your benefits.  Articulate what it is that your company does well.  Help the salespeople develop their qualifying questions around those qualifiers and around the gaps that might exist for a prospect if they don’t take advantage of your services.  You must highlight what your differentiators are and reinforce it with all the salespeople.  Do not assume that the salespeople have it down cold.  When they are out in the field and the large competitor gets thrown in their face all the time it may be hard for them to stay the course and be able to really constantly embrace why someone should choose your company.

Also be very clear that not every potential customer is a good fit.  The more you can get your salespeople focused on exactly what you do well, and who you do it the best for, will help them eliminate wasted time and energy on the wrong prospects, that will sap the life out of most salespeople.  Especially in situations where the competition is aggressively marketing to a wide range of potential customers, salespeople can feel compelled to try and win every account out there.  Help them focus, and go after the right customers.

The more clear and precise you can be in your targeted prospect definition, the easier it will be for your salespeople to focus their prospecting and sales efforts, and the easier it will be for them to win business that is right for your company.