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How to Block the Competition
Guest articles > How to Block the Competition
by: Kelley Robertson
In today's business climate, virtually every company has more competition
than they did a few years ago. And many of these competitors are beating at YOUR
customers' door in an effort to get their business. Some of these competitors
will be more aggressive than you are and will succeed in getting your client's
attention. If that happens, there's a good chance you could lose that customer.
However, if you are proactive in differentiating yourself from your
competition you may be able to prevent from uprooting you. Your goal is to
create or develop a strategic partnership with your customers instead of the
typical vendor/supplier relationship. It's not an easy task but it can be done.
Here are several strategies you can implement that will help you block your competition and maintain your foothold.
1. Increase the value you bring to the equation. Every time you see, meet,
connect or interact with a customer, make sure you add value to the interaction.
This can include industry insights or information to help them achieve their
goals and objectives or advising them of new trends in the marketplace. It can
mean giving them articles, white papers, journals or other information you come
across that may be of value to them.
Of course, the only way you can accomplish this is to learn more about each
customer's personal situation. What's important to them and their business? What
business challenges they are experiencing? What business goals and objectives do
they want to achieve? What career goals are they striving towards?
Invest time learning these details and you can quickly determine what information will be of most benefit to them.
2. Increase face time. You don't need to increase the number of appointments
sales calls you make. Instead, think of networking events, conferences and trade
shows your customer's may attend and make arrangements to be there too. The
great thing about conferences and networking events is that your customer may
have more time to talk. They may be more relaxed. And you may be able to have a
conversation with fewer interruptions.
However, don't attend these types of events with the intent of selling.
Instead, follow the first suggestion above and think about what you can do to
add more value to the interactions with people you connect with.
Also, your time and resources are limited so you need to look at this strategically. Where events do your BEST customer's attend? Does it make sense for you to be there? I once attended an industry conference that many key decision-makers I wanted to meet attended. I made contact with one person and that connection generated a high-five figure sale.
3. Increase touch points. Many of your customers will accept more contact
from you so increase the number of times they receive contact from you. This can
include; email, telephone, face-to-face meetings, direct mail, fax, email, etc.
Once again, the key is to provide some type of value in each of these contacts.
Here are a few suggestions.
You can send articles, handwritten postcards or cards with an interesting
business idea. Leave a brief voice mail with an idea to help them improve their
business. Send a fax with 10 tips. You can do the same with email-although I
suggest that you limit email correspondence for this because it can easily get
lost in the noise (the average executive receives approximately 150 emails a
Although these strategies sound simple, the execution requires planning and
forethought. You need to carve out time in your schedule and target your
campaign to EACH customer. However, the investment will pay off when your
competitors finally connect with your key contact and they hear something like,
"We love our vendor and have no desire to consider a change."
By the way, you can also use these ideas to edge out a competitor from a company that you would like to add to your roster. Plan your strategy. Be diligent. Be persistent. Be patient. And your competitor may end up hearing, "We've decided to try someone else."
© 2009 Kelley Robertson, All rights reserved.
Kelley Robertson, author of The Secrets of Power Selling helps sales professionals and businesses discover new techniques to improve their sales and profits. Receive a FREE copy of 100 Ways to Increase Your Sales by subscribing to his free newsletter available at www.kelleyrobertson.com. Kelley conducts workshops and speaks regularly at sales meetings and conferences. For information on his programs contact him at 905-633-7750 or Kelley@RobertsonTrainingGroup.com
Contributor: Kelley Robertson
Published here on: 07-Nov-10