Closing Out Your Competitors

sales appointment
Comparing your product to others.

Closing a sale can be plenty challenging when you are the only one trying to win the business. When you're also in a bidding war with several of your competitors for the same prospect, closing becomes even trickier. In a competitive situation, closing becomes a two-part process: first, convincing the prospect that he needs to buy for sure; and second, convincing him that you are the right person to provide the product he needs.

In most cases, the first part of this competitive close process is pretty similar to the basic closing process. However, if you think it's likely that your prospect will seek out other bids to compare to yours, it's a good idea to lay some extra groundwork earlier in the sales process to point out what a great fit your product is compared to what your competitors offer. Note that this does NOT mean badmouthing your competitors, which is always a bad idea because it makes you look both untrustworthy and unprofessional. Rather, it means pointing out specific aspects of your product (and your product alone) that are particularly helpful for the prospect. That way, when the prospect reaches the point of talking to your competitors, he will look for those specific features and if he doesn't find them, he'll be more inclined towards your product.

So how do you know if you are likely to end up facing off against other bids?

Well, if you sell to a professional buyer for a large company it's a virtual certainty because most professional buyers are required by company policy to compare a minimum number of quotes before making a decision. And the more expensive the product is that you sell, the more likely it is that prospects will get several quotes before buying.

After all, when you're looking at spending thousands of dollars for something, you want to make absolutely sure that you've chosen the right vendor and product.

Sometimes, of course, rather than being the first salesperson on​ the scene you will be one of the groups of additional quotes that a prospect is collecting. In that case, the first part of closing – convincing the prospect that he needs to buy SOMETHING – has already been taken care of by one of your competitors. And you had better assume that said competitor has also done the recommended groundwork and slanted the playing field in his own favor. In that case, you need to try to get some advantage of your own to improve your odds of winning the sale. The best way to do so is to convince the prospect to show you copies of the other quotes he's collected.

Naturally, most prospects will not be eager to share such information with you. You can encourage him to provide you with the other quotes by showing him why it's in his own best interest. Try saying something like, "Comparing the bottom line on a bunch of quotes isn't necessarily the best way to decide because the vendors you're looking at may not be including the same product features and services in their quotes.

If you can give me a copy of the quotes you've gotten so far, I can make sure to compare apples to apples in my own quote. If I can't match what another vendor has offered you, I'll tell you so. If I can give you a better deal, you'll be able to save some money without sacrificing value." This is an argument that should sound pretty darn compelling to your prospects.

If you can get ahold of those quotes, be sure to make it clear in your own quote how your product features line up against the other vendors', and also schedule another meeting with the prospect so that you can explain the similarities and differences fully and answer any reservations he might have. Personalizing your quote to this degree will take some extra time, but will pay off with a very satisfied prospect.