Customer Experience News & Trends

Getting prospects to choose you over their current supplier

Some prospects look at changing suppliers the same way they look at divorce – it’s painful. Getting a prospect to switch to you involves removing the pain.

Two challenges

The first challenge in selling to prospects who are married to their present suppliers is to get them interested enough in your product or service to actively consider switching.

The second challenge is to maintain that involvement long enough for the prospect to buy from you.

Here are six tips that may help your salespeople get a prospect to look beyond a veteran supplier and consider your product or service:

1. Be unique. Offer something the present supplier can’t furnish. Distinguish your company, product or self in some quantifiable way. Offer enhanced quality, quicker delivery, more thorough technical support, better personal follow-up and demonstrate genuine interest.
The best strategy that may dislodge a present supplier is to become such an expert in your field that the prospect can’t afford not to do business with you.
Uniqueness or differentiation is not a reactive strategy to an objection. It’s more proactive – something you do prior to the objection. It’s not short term, but represents a long-term commitment to excellence.

2. Emphasize your company, not your product or service alone.
You want to get the prospect to focus on your company. Unless the prospect is impressed with what your company can do for him or her, the present supplier will keep the account.

3. Be prepared. The more knowledgeable and prepared you are, the better your chances of getting the account. Review what you already know about the prospect. There’s a direct relationship between your preparation and the results you achieve. The more front-end time you invest, the greater the return.

4. Proactively probe. Determine the prospect’s wants and needs as soon as possible. Is his or her present supplier meeting these needs? Try to focus on customer problem areas where you feel you offer unique solutions. Once you’ve asked questions, listen. What is the buyer saying or not saying? Is there any indication that the present supplier may not be meeting all the needs? Be perceptive to all signals coming from the buyer.

5. Practice value-added selling. Value-added selling is a good competitive strategy to sell prospects who are reluctant to leave their present suppliers. It helps you develop a habit of doing those things other salespeople can’t or won’t do. When you sell value, you position yourself, your product and your company as the greatest package for the customer.

6. Identify problems. Prospects become customers when you can solve problems for them. So a key task in replacing present suppliers is to create interest by identifying problems that are important to prospects and showing that you have the ability to solve them.

Adapted from Crush Price Objections by Tom Reilly (Motivation Press, St. Louis). Mr. Reilly is president of Tom Reilly Training, Inc., a sales training and consulting firm.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest customer experience news and insights delivered to your inbox.