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February 20, 2020

Three Reasons Your Sales Team Can’t Unseat the Incumbent

It’s a competitive market. In many industries, the only way to grow market share is to take market share. Your company doesn’t invent bright new shiny objects, where there is no or little competition.

Taking market share requires selling against an incumbent, often an entrenched one, which can be challenging.

It becomes even more challenging when salespeople don’t apply three common-sense selling principles.

#1. Mindset management. Many salespeople give up before they even start prospecting. Their self-talk is filled with, “The prospect has been working with XYZ company for 10 years. They aren’t going to move their business. Our company is smaller than the existing supplier. They probably don’t think we can handle the business. We are higher-priced than the competition.” They rehearse and review all the reasons they can’t win and pretty soon, the self-talk becomes hard, cold facts. They don’t even bother to prospect!                                   

#2. No preparation. The salesperson reaches out to the prospect. But the outreach is a generic, one-size-fits-all value proposition focused on what her company does, not the problems it solves for customers. It looks and sounds like a robo-call and ends up in the delete file. The seller didn’t take the time to study the competition and discover gaps in their service offerings in order to develop a compelling business case. For example, “I noticed your recent expansion into Europe. We recently worked with a client who was also expanding services into Europe. One of the main reasons they brought us in was because regional providers didn’t have the resources to service international accounts and the associated demands.”

#3: Not selling to the real buyer. A salesperson lands a meeting with the incumbent’s client and the deal is stalled. Why? Because the salesperson isn’t selling to the real buyer — the prospect’s reptilian brain. This part of the brain is wired to keep human beings safe, and let’s be clear: Change never represents safety. The salesperson avoids bringing up the sales elephant around change, and the result is no change.

Sales managers, as you are conducting your one-on-one coaching sessions, review these three proven steps to winning business from an incumbent:  Mindset, preparation and identifying the real buyer.

Good Selling!

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