Every executive from a sales background is well familiar with the distressing situation when a good prospect, on whom they have invested numerous hours and tremendous effort chasing and nurturing, says the inevitable, “We have chosen to work with one of your competitors.”
How do sales executives respond to that?
Most of the time, sales reps representing their product end the conversation with a simple and polite, “Thanks for your time. It was nice meeting you”. They move to the next buyer, accepting this as a final decision.
If you are walking away from a qualified lead just because they are interested in a competitor’s product, you are missing out on an excellent sales opportunity. You should rather take it as a good sign, respond immediately, complement them on their choice, and if possible offer them free advice recommendations that would help them with their project. It will not only put you in a better picture, but also will leave the door of opportunity open to future work and collaboration.
Therefore, if your prospect has chosen someone else, it doesn’t mean the end of it; it merely means that they have a need. All that’s left to do is convince them that you are the right solution for their need. The focus is to start building the relationship and plant the seed to make a switch. Here are a few ways to respond:
“Okay. I’m curious, and would love to know what do you think makes the product work so well?”
This is a perfectly non-threatening way to gain key client insight and more importantly get the buyer to talk. Based on this communication, you can probe further and uncover areas where there are voids in the current solution, and propose to fill the gap.
“It sounds like you are pretty content. Is there anything that you think could or should be better?”
With this question, you get the client to reconsider their decision, think about change and what it might be like if they switch.
“Do they…? How do they…? What happens when they…?”
Ask questions related to avenues where you have the advantage. This will leverage your position in the mind of the prospect and coax him to re-think his decision. With a little subtlety, appropriate approach and the right responses, you can influence the buyer’s behaviour better.
Sales is about building relationships, and the right responses can establish you and your product as a strong suitor. Even if they don’t switch immediately, you are likely to be the contender.
So, next time, when you hear “We have already chosen another Solution”, do not give up. Instead, start to build and nurture the relationship. This strategy will do a lot of good especially in the long haul and you will win a new business whenever a prospect is looking to switch.