Better questioning creates competitive advantage

Here is one of the most common reasons why competitive sales opportunities are lost – and specifically what you can do to win more often. This is one of the mistakes to avoid if you want to give your competitors fits.

Your competitor understands the prospect’s needs better than you do. Sun Tzu wrote his classic book, The Art of War, 2,500 years ago. In it he said, “If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself, but not the enemy, for every victory gained, you’ll also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will lose every battle.”

Between you and me, Sun Tzu had it easy! In 500 B.C., all he had to do was learn about himself and his enemy. Today, it’s not enough to know about yourself and the competition. You also have to know about the customers’ needs. When you know the specific ways in which you’re different from your competition – AND you know your customers’ needs – you’ll know which differences are going to be the most important to your customer. And that knowledge is what will put your name on the scoreboard.

One simple strategy for understanding your customers’ needs better than your competition is to resist the natural temptation to talk about yourself, and instead, keep the conversation focused on your customer’s needs. If your customer asks you about your product or service – as they often do – answer their question, then redirect the conversation back to your customer’s needs. A good rule of thumb is to identify at least eight customer buying criteria before you start talking about your product or service.

Kevin Davis

Kevin F. Davis is the author of The Sales Manager’s Guide to Greatness”, which was named the 2018 Axiom Business Book Award Winner, Silver Medal. Kevin is also the author of Slow Down, Sell Faster!”.