I was very pleased recently while talking to a window salesman in a remodeling project that we’re involved in at home. Asked about the quality of windows from two of his well-known competitors, he answered in the following manner, "Those are great companies. I recommend that if you don’t choose me you select one of them."
My immediate reaction was that this is a guy I can trust.
It reminded me of a really nice Disability Income sale that I got many years ago as an insurance agent to attorneys at a Fort Dodge, Iowa law firm. I made my presentation to the lawyers telling them that I knew both my competitor and his company well and had great respect for both.
"I know who else you are considering and can tell you that you won’t make a wrong decision no matter which one of us you choose. He is a solid agent with an outstanding company. Now, allow me to show you where we might have a slight advantage over them based on your current budget, wants and needs."
It was a thrilling moment when they called my office a few days later to say that the case was mine. I did not ask why the sale went my way when writing up the case although I was very curious. Upon delivering the policies sometime later, however, one of the principals asked me if I knew why they chose my company and me.
"No, I am very happy that you did, of course, and kind of wondered what went into the final decision. Do you mind telling me?"
"Of course not," he answered. "The difference-maker was what you two said about each other. He was kind about you but rather disparaging about your company. We had done enough research on our own to know that the differences in products were minute. It just bugged us that he did not use your approach and, frankly, turned us off on doing business with him."
What a wonderful lesson for me to learn.
My recommendation to you is to follow suit as an entrepreneur when approaching a similar situation. There is no need to go overboard and praise the competition to high heaven. Rather, assuming it is true, acknowledge that they are certainly a worthy adversary and then go on to point out the sweet spots that your products or services have over them.
You may be surprised how effective this tactic can be.
Written by Bill Sheridan "Sheridan Writes"—see my bio under Guest Authors
Written by Bill Sheridan
"Sheridan Writes"—see my bio under Guest Authors
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