Ousting Opponents

Every B2B salesperson has more than one company in their funnel they want to sell, but can’t figure out how to oust the opponent, who is the incumbent vendor. When you have attempted to break through, all you get is the same old jazz, “We’re satisfied with the company that services us now.”

Knowing that if you keep doing what you’re doing you will keep getting what you’re getting, why not try a different approach in order to have a shot at a different result. Here are several ideas:

Are you sure who the bullseye is on the target? If you don’t know specifically who the occupying opponent is, it’s going to be very hard to know how to oust them. Once you know for sure, and if you have done some mystery shopping like I continually recommended, you will be able to cobble together a solid proposal and expose gaps in their service without ever mentioning the competitor’s name.

With that established, it would be entirely appropriate to mention in your opening statement that lots of your clients felt they were basically happy with existing vendors, but were at least open to looking elsewhere due to changing demands that current vendors were struggling to fulfill and successfully complete.

Go for the heart before you go for the throat. You should never forget that people buy with their emotions and then justify their purchase with logic, so even when they realize your company provides a superior service, they probably have an emotional connection to the current provider that will be difficult to overcome. Go ahead and get the 800 pound gorilla out in the open and begin to deal with it. The buyer knows all is not well with the existing service but may feel like a Benedict Arnold to even consider changing from a company that has been with them for a long time, to buying from one they’re not sure will deliver.

Get ahead of these feelings by admitting that if you were in their shoes you would be wondering if this outsider can really deliver, and also has a valid plan of action for when things go south. An empathetic statement like that will help level the playing field and go a long way toward separating you from all the other over-promisers in the marketplace.

No more sales pity parties

Above all, avoid personal pity parties. It is commonplace for sales reps to look in the mirror and convince themselves that they won’t be able to win over prospects that are long term customers of other providers before the opening bell has rung, and often they act wimpy or retreat.

Start thinking differently and you will begin to act differently. As Yogi Berra used to say, “Hit it where they ain’t.” The vendor you are attempting to replace may have been in place for a long time but may not be able to provide everything they need.

You job is to determine the gaps in service offerings and pursue them rather than dwell on the part your prospect is most worried about giving up. Gain a foothold into the enterprise by this fork in the road and then work hard to climb from vendor to credible source, to problem solver, and eventually you will become a trusted advisor and will earn ALL their business. Sometimes you must be willing to start small and “earn your stripes.”

Ousting opponents is not easy. To succeed you must learn to get out of your own way and avoid becoming a suicide bomber. Then be willing to live by the principle of delayed gratification as you create and build value for your buyers and customers.

————Kudos from the Gem State————

Todd Sawyer, owner of the Orkin franchise in Boise, ID. sent me this note; “I want to thank you again for all you offer in our online weekly training meetings. The techniques and strategies we talk about every Tuesday will make a huge difference in the success of our employees and our company, and you are an important part of our team.” You Can Do This for Yourself


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