We all face competition. There is always someone who can do it cheaper, or faster, or better (at least in the mind of your prospect). Because of this, prospects – and even customers – are constantly on the search for a better deal. Knowing how to handle the competition objection effectively can mean the difference between winning the sale or suffering that sinking feeling of having lost the business to someone else.
There are several times you can handle the competition objection, but surprisingly most sales reps wait until it comes up at the end of their closing presentation. This is the worse time to handle it because you have already given your pricing and options and sometimes even your best deal. While you may have to handle the objection of competition during the close – and I’ll give you some scripting to do just that later in this article – the best time to handle it is in the beginning, while qualifying. Here are some ways you can do that:
Qualifying for competition:
Option #1: “_________, let’s talk a little bit about who else you’re looking at for this – who’s top of your list right now?” If you’re uncomfortable bringing up potential competition, let me assure you of two things: One, if they are shopping you, they are most likely shopping others, so don’t be surprised, and Two, trust me, it’s better to know in advance who you’re up against so you can position yourself to win the business during the close. And always ask this in an assumptive way…
Option #2: “How many companies are you getting quotes on for this?” Once again, don’t worry about introducing the concept of getting quotes, if they are going to do this (and most are), it’s better to get an idea of it now. If they tell you they are getting three quotes (doesn’t matter how many), layer this with: “And who have you liked so far?” Again, be assumptive with this.
Option #3: “_________, how does your current supplier fit into all this?” This is a nice opened ended, assumptive way to get your prospect to reveal why they might be moving away from their current vendor – or why they might still be considering using them. A great way to layer this is to ask:
Option #4: “And if you find that we can give you a better deal than you’re getting right now, what will you do next?” Obviously you want them to reveal that they’ll take it back to their current vendor to get them to lower their price, and this is what you want to know in advance. Asking this question in an opened ended way like this often gets them to tell you this. You can also ask this in a more direct way:
Option #5: “________, if we can show you how we can take care of what you’re doing now, and do so for less than you’re paying your current vendor, what will prevent you from taking it back to them and getting them to just drop their price to keep your business?” Listen carefully to not only what your prospect says here, but how they say it. If they hesitate or if their voice goes up or wavers a bit, then you’re in trouble. You can also handle it this way:
Option #6: “Now _________, after we do our analysis, I’m pretty convinced that we’ll be able to save you money just like we do our other clients. But ________, I have a concern and I need you to level with me: Sometimes we go through this work to find these savings, and after we do, some companies use them to get their current vendor to lower their prices. Do you see what I mean?” [Wait for response] “So I’m happy to do the work for you and show you some savings, but let me ask you: what is the chance that you’ll take these back to your current vendor and do the same?”
“Let me ask you: if we can also show you savings, what would prevent you from doing the same?”
Option #7: “________, what is going to be the deciding factor on who wins your business on this?” And if it’s price, then layer with: “O.K., then after you get all the quotes, will you at least let me compete against the lowest quote to see if I can do better?”
Handling competition during the close:
If after you’ve presented your product or service your prospect says they want or need to check on other offers/estimates/quotes, then use the questions below to get your prospect to open up and possibly reveal what it might take for you to win the business: