In the world of professional selling, particularly when selling to the purchasing department, it's commonplace for buyers to do their best to commoditize your product or service. When prospects are comparing your proposal to the competition in an attempt to create a bidding war, the buyer is working to further put themselves in the driver's seat and get the lowest price they can.
How to Differentiate When Prospects are Comparing Your Proposal to the Competition
In the current economic climate, it is becoming increasingly rare for salespeople to close a deal without some competition from other companies in their industry. Differentiating your proposals from the competition is essential, but this can be a challenging task.
The Problem With Comparing Quotes
If possible, you should try to totally avoid engaging in a bidding war with competitive proposals. Simply put, don't let them compare you apples to apples.
The issue with bidding on a project or job is that it turns sales solutions into commodities that are all equivalent. Savvy salespeople know equivalent solutions will never be totally equivalent because no two businesses - or salespeople - are exactly the same. Even two businesses that provide the same exact solution have different service models, supply chains, and methods of dealing with their customers. Customers who are comparing your proposal to the competition don't know any better and often assume that all things are equal.
They then decide on an offer based on price, which can lead to headaches in the future when they do not get the kind of service or products that they originally wanted.
4 tips to prevent prospects from comparing your proposal to the competition to beat you up on price.
Unfortunately, the reality is that dealing with competing quotes is a way of life for sales professionals in many fields, especially B2B or Federal Government sales. So how can you position your proposal to be the most attractive one when you are reviewing competitive quotes with prospective customers? Follow these guidelines:
- Make absolutely sure that your proposal clearly articulates how your solution will give the buyer exactly what they want. Buyers may not even think of comparing your proposal to the competition when you present a solution that just makes sense to buy.
- Build in a low-cost, high perceived value component in the proposal that you can remove if necessary. This way, if a prospect beats you up on price, you can give them a "win" without costing yourself margin.
- Develop a "good, better, best" 3 tier solution. This way, your prospect or customer feels as though they have the control over the purchase. Naturally, when comparing your proposal to the competition, they'll want to know why the "premium" level costs so much. It's because it's the best-in-class solution to their problem!
- Do your absolute best to present your proposal on a conference call or via video conference instead of just submitting it and letting them review it on their own. You want to make sure you control your message. Leave nothing to chance and make sure the buyer knows exactly what you're proposing, why you're proposing it and what it will do for them.
Sales competition can be very fierce; even the most seasoned sales professionals will lose out to a competitive proposal from time to time. By following these strategies you will have a better shot at winning business and helping your prospects see why your products or services have more value than the ones from your competition.