Part I in a 2-part series of bottom-line, practical questions you can ask your team today to get them thinking about what they need to know to compete against the people and companies that want to take business from them. While training a sales team, use the sales training exercises below to guide conversations with your salespeople to make sure they possess as much competitive knowledge as they can to gain an advantage over their competitors and to make sure they’re as prepared as possible for every single call.
What is our competition’s marketing philosophy?
Coaching Point: Your salespeople need to know whether their competitors have positioned themselves as a high quality, timely delivery, low price or strong customer service provider. There is little doubt that the marketing premise of your competitor is something that they’re going to have to contend with and understand in order to be successful in the battle for the account.
What is our competitor’s unique selling proposition? What do they sell as their differential advantage?
Coaching Point: What is their position as it relates to differentiating themselves from everyone else in the marketplace? Although this may appear to be tied to the marketing strategy, it is really part of a sales strategy in that a selling proposition is one that allows salespeople to differentiate themselves from other salespeople in the marketplace.
Who is the sales representative against whom you’re selling?
Coaching Point: Specifically knowing this person’s strengths, weaknesses and relationship to the customer can be invaluable. How long have they been selling or attempting to sell to your customer? What are their strengths within the account?
Does the competitor have a history as being a price, quality, delivery or value-added provider?
Coaching Point: Although this is tied closely to the marketing strategy, it really deals a lot more with existing customers as it relates to the actual experience that they have been having with your competitor.
What must you do to differentiate yourself and your products/services from the competitor?
Coaching Point: This is so fundamental, yet so many salespeople can’t answer this simple question. For example, in the absence of a value interpreter, everything is perceived as being equal or as a commodity. The key to this concept is understanding what your prospect or customer perceives as valuable. Make sure they know it.
These are a few fundamental questions that should be addressed in any sales team training exercise in order to gain an advantage over your competition. We’ll tackle the next 5 questions to ask your sales team in our next blog, but if you would like to learn more about sales training techniques, contact The Brooks Group to start the conversation.