We’re operating in a challenging marketplace with forces to contend with including “Goliath” (your deep pocket competitor), your local competitor, the economy, and your own employees! Are you prepared to take on the bullies?
Competing against Goliath: New and small companies compete against Goliath. It is important to recognize, however, that historically those “Davids” who armed themselves with a solid vision and team have won or have at least done well against the large player “bully”. For example, my local coffee shop, Las Vetas is winning against Starbucks in my community. You haven’t heard about Las Vetas and that doesn’t matter because there are enough people like me locally that choose Las Vetas over Starbucks. How about politics? I’m not fool enough to bring up the current election. Let’s look a decade more back. Everyone thought Hillary, a household name (Goliath), would win the Democratic nomination during the primaries but the far lesser known Obama swept in to win the seat, not to mention the presidency! What’s your approach to taking on Goliath?
The economy: A turbulent economy is also a “bully”. Of course business gets done in boom time and bad. In fact, companies such as Microsoft, Hyatt, Federal Express and Burger King were founded during recessionary times and companies including Google and SalesForce grew during such times. How will you apply some of their best practices to company?
The small guy: Your neighborhood local competitor is also a “bully”. Most likely this company is competing on similar features to you. The challenge is if you are competing on standard features of your industry then you are commoditizing your offering (a commodity is a good for which there is demand, but which is supplied without qualitative differentiation across a market), which leaves you with price as the only lever to pull during the sales process. On what basis are you competing?
Your team: What a team isn’t empowered with the tools to compete on the benefits side of the value equation (value = benefits / cost) then the “bully” is “inside”. For example, how would your team member respond if a prospective customer said, “Oh your product/service is too expensive”. Would he/she know how to layer in relevant benefits to create a compelling value proposition? What if your team member is asked how you stack up against the competition. Is he/she empowered with the ammunition to express your features and benefits? What are your team members saying?
Referral sources: Referral sources can tell a story that hurts the sales process. In this instance an advocate can become a “bully”. Do you have referral partners? Mystery shop them and find out how they are expressing the value you deliver to your clients. You may get some great sound bytes that you will incorporate into your own pitch, or that you immediately want to remove from theirs! We rely on clients and formal partners to provide referrals but sometimes an otherwise happy client will say this, “They are great but expensive”. In this instance, the client is communicating to a prospect that the benefits you provided did not outweigh the price. What are your referral sources saying?
If we don’t have tools already to help you with competing against Golaith, The Small Guy, Empowering your Team and Referral Sources we will! At the very least start thinking about what you’re doing to empower your company to gain and sustain a competitive advantage.
Do you have a Smart Idea? We would love to hear it!
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