The Competition Rule

I recently completed a 6 month sales training & coaching project with a new client. And just like in an earlier example: “11th Hour Sales Dilemna!” it was very nearly jeopardised.

I had been in a bake off for the business with 2 other prospective sales training consultancies. I got the go ahead, dates had even been reserved for the first part of the project: a workshop followed by 6 one day coaching visits. Teams always feel more valued when supported with some coaching after a training session!

A few days before it was due to start I got a voicemail from the Sales Director to say that they’d received some feedback expressing an issue about me and could I please call him back.

Before calling him back I wondered what it could be. I really didn’t know what feedback they might be referring to or who it may have come from.

I decided that if it was much of an issue I’d see what I could do to allay any concerns. The decision to use my services had previously been established so the Sales Director, his fellow Directors and Sales Manager were comfortable with my ideas and approach.

Having called him back it turned out to be one of other 2 Sales Training companies!

I asked him to confirm that prior to hearing the feedback he and his colleagues were 100% happy with their decision to use me? He said yes. I then asked “If you found out that one of your team did this to try and convince a prospective customer to use them instead, would you want them to do it?”

He answered “no!”

“OK, I’ll see you on Monday then!” I replied.

I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t admit I got annoyed at this low tactic by the other sales training company! In the end they did me a massive favour. They gave me the opportunity to further convince about my approach and reassure the Sales Director that there are always positive ways to deal with any situation. Plus it was not good for their reputation. They forgot a golden rule, never badmouth the competition.

You can even be complimentary about them and position yourself favourably at the same time like this: “Yes, ABC Company has a good track record in that area which we do too plus we are geared up to handle additional output such as…”

It’s best for us to not see our competition as competition and instead to see them and refer to them as another “option.” Especially when with a Prospect .

What’s your experience of this? Would you suggest alternative ways to handle the situation?


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