The dreaded question, “What makes you different from your competition?” comes up on a call. How you respond to that question, usually, determines whether the Opportunity is marked as Won, or Lost. Maybe your product is not as strong on some features, or maybe the brand recognition in the market isn’t up to par… These things are outside of your control. However, how you respond to this question can make all the difference in the world. After reviewing thousands of hours of calls via traditional conversational intelligence platforms, it has become increasingly clear that the default response comes out in one of two ways:
- Ignoring the question completely and abruptly moving into talking about the positive aspects of your business and product.
- An immediate dissertation into all the things, as a sales representative, you supposedly know are the negatives of that company and product.
Sales enablement leaders will push recent press releases about a reduction in forces, negative Glassdoor reviews, funding announcements (or lack thereof), and other elementary ways of trying to combat a certain competitor as key staples in the playbook for known competitors, but the problem is…. These don’t work. Why? Because they feel so…. “used car salesman” and dirty!
The Dreaded Feature Comparison Sheet!
Ok, so maybe your sales leaders and sales enablement peers won’t use those tactics, but maybe they prefer to lean on a product comparison document. How many times do sales representatives get asked for a “feature comparison” of your product vs a competitor? (that is a whole different story on why this is even a thing someone should ask for, but we will save that for a later date). Let us put aside for a moment the sheer laziness of any prospect who asks for this, and focus on why your organization should absolutely never send this out to a prospective customer:
- How often does your current company, which you sell for, push out releases? Guessing every two or three weeks? Ever heard of a legitimate software company that doesn’t have a regular release cycle? With software development advancing exponentially faster this year than it did last year, chances are, by the time your organization knows about a feature gap a competitor has… it’s probably already been filled. Anything your organization puts on their battle card could very well be incorrect and immediately moves you, as the sales representative from “trusted advisor” to the “shady sales guy”.
- Are each and every single feature listed on the PDF document actually important to your team? Have you gone back through your calls via your conversational intelligence platform to know which things matter most to your prospect? The juice is definitely not worth the squeeze on this as exposing a complete list of what your team supposedly knows about its competitor may expose something exciting to your prospect, they didn’t know about.
Some Pro Tips
If what we are talking about above resonates with you as a sales representative, then the tips below will help you be a competition-slaying rockstar in no time!
- Use sites like G2Crowd, TrustRadius, Capterra, and other sites to do your talking for you! G2Crowd even does a side by side feature comparisons based upon real reviews, from real users, all of whom have more hands-on experience with your competitor’s products than your team does. Depending upon your target market, analyst firms like Forrester and Gartner might make sense to leverage but for anything not truly Enterprise, lean on sites like the ones mentioned above. Instead of sending a side-by-side comparison doc, send them to G2Crowd.
- Use Lateral Thinking. Hold on, what is Lateral Thinking? Basically, how can someone move laterally (side to side) within a conversation without moving it forward or backward? Let’s see how that plays out in the example below:
Kyle (prospect): So Mia, how is ABSTRAKT different from tools like Gong, or Chorus?
Mia (sales rep): Well Kyle, if you ask the team at Gong or Chorus, they might say that ABSTRAKT is not the market leader, that they are still too new and a very risky business to buy from, and that their technology isn’t as advanced. Have you heard any of those from the team at Gong or Chorus about ABSTRAKT?
Kyle (prospect): Actually, those are almost the exact words they used. They also said tools like ABSTRAKT would be too much of a distraction for my team.
Mia (sales rep): Yeah, and when we demoed ABSTRAKT a few days ago we agreed that it would be no different than the Google Docs they have open today. Has your opinion changed on that?
Kyle (prospect): It has not actually, I really like how it actually consolidates all the things my reps are currently having to pay attention to into one heads-up display.
Mia (sales rep): Great! And honestly, those things Gong and Chorus say about us aren’t untrue. We are not the market leader, but we are hungry to be. We are risky, which is why we have no implementation and month-to-month contracts. Regarding the more advanced… Have you seen anything like ABSTRAKT from either of the other companies you are talking to?
Real-Time Call Coaching Software vs Traditional Conversational Intelligence Platforms
Do you see how that played out? Not once did Mia have to talk about certain features, not once did Mia talk poorly about her competition. She simply knew her competition well enough to know the words they would use against her and used that to her advantage. Leveraging real-time call coaching software, as opposed to traditional conversational intelligence platform systems, helps provide sales representatives with talk tracks that make them seem like they are a pro and ready, on day one!