What do you do when s sales prospect asks you about a competitive company, product, brand?
The worst thing you can do is run down the other company, brand, salesperson, or product. Why? Because you have no idea how the prospect feels about that competitor.
What if the prospect likes your competitor? What if their parents bought the competitive product? What if they are thinking of buying it…because their cousin started working for the company?
And you never know what they currently believe about the competitive offer. And the odds are, the prospect isn’t going to tell you everything that they think about the competitor’s product, or why they are asking about it.
So, the best response is to say something nice about the other company, product, or brand. I like to say that “I know many people that have that brand and are very satisfied with it. Why do you ask?”. But I say “Why do you ask?” after I have complimented the other company.
And sometimes the prospect (or someone they love and respect) has already bought from that other company. And saying anything bad about the other company, is an indirect insult to that other person and their decision making ability. Many sales have been lost by insulting another company…losing the sale…and never knowing why.
And the best way to transition from that product/service to your product/service is to say that the other product has many advantages for someone that isn’t in the same situation that the prospect is in. In other words, the product is a great choice for someone else, but not your prospect and their needs. Of course, only say it if it’s true.
Don’t run down another company, even if the prospect does it themselves. That will come back to haunt you, either in that sale or another one down the road.
If I really know a lot about the competitor’s offer (a reason you should study what the competition offers), I may even brag about a feature that they have, that we do not. But I make sure it’s a feature that doesn’t apply to the prospect. So, the prospect sees that I’m talking fairly about my competition, but they may even bring up that the other product (The one I’m describing that the competitor sells) isn’t what they need. In this way, the customer is telling me that they aren’t interested in the competition’s offer.