Dear SaaStr: Should Your Ask a Prospect What Competitors They Are Looking At?

You’ll find 90% of the time you’ll want to not just tell a client who you are competing with — but do so aggressively. And box the competition out at the start.

“Great to learn about your business!  Is there anyone else you are looking at to _______”?

Then, sales rep looks up latest tear sheer or FUD (Fear, Uncertainty & Doubt) on that Competitor.

“Ah. [Competitor 1] doesn’t really have a functional mobile app today, so that can be a challenge.”

“Ah. [Competitor 2] is about 1/10th the size of us. Good for very small businesses, but not someone you can trust for bigger deals.”

“Ah. [Competitor 3] doesn’t remotely have the level of security that we do. We’re fully _____ compliant.”

Etc. Etc.

If you don’t do it — your competitor will.

FUD can be annoying. But it works.  And you know what works even better?  Truly, really knowing the competition.  And then being a true ally of the prospect.  Showing where you’re stronger, and where they are.  Few things build up trust faster than that.

Whatever you do, address competition up front. Usually, in the first few discovery questions.

If you don’t ask, you won’t know which tools in your sales toolkit to use to compete, win, sell, and close.  Don’t be shy.  They may say they aren’t looking at anyone else or any other way to solve the problem.  Then OK, no need to address the competition much more.  But ask.  Ask somewhere early in the conversation.

And a really, really great conversation about competing with the ex-CROs of both Brex and Divvy here:

Don’t Trash The Competition

Once upon a time, a couple of cars were wrapped in Divvy branding and parked outside the Brex office in San Francisco. This was how deep the rivalry ran.

While a little good-natured harassment between competitors is always a good time, should competitors stick to their strengths and not mention each other to customers or play on the negatives about another company to gain an advantage?

“The right move is never to trash your competition. Humans pick up on that fast,” says Snow. 

(Us vs Them image from here)

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