With a few exceptions, sales is one of the most competitive professions in the world. Salespeople compete against other businesses, against their coworkers, and against their own previous numbers, all while juggling a myriad of other responsibilities along the way. Whether we want to admit it or not, competition is at the heart of selling.
So how can salespeople get an edge in such a highly-competitive profession? It starts, of course, with hard work and consistency. But simply working hard usually isn’t enough, you have to work smart too. Here are some proven, sure-fire ways to get an edge against your competitors — incorporate them into your routine and you’ll find yourself winning more deals and making more money.
1. Be the first
In business, there’s nothing quite like first-mover advantage, and the same is true when it comes to selling. As the first person to reach a prospect, you have an opportunity to set the tone, build rapport, and establish a relationship with a prospect before anybody else. Not only that, but a prospect who has little interest in shopping around might choose the first person that gets in touch with them to make their own lives easier. In any event, always strike while the iron is hot.
2. Make everything easy
It’s important to simplify the entire sales and post-sales process, making the prospect’s life (and decision) easy. In many cases, prospects will choose an easier option even if it comes with a higher price tag. While the process itself is usually incumbent on your company and might be out of your hands, it’s still imperative you do everything possible to make things easy, from electronic signatures, to handling as much of the legwork for the prospect as you can. Remember, your job is to make it as easy as possible for the prospect to buy.
3. Offer something extra
Everyone loves extras, bonuses, and freebies, so make sure to incorporate them as part of your offering. Whether it’s a bonus product/service/add-on that competitors don’t offer, a free month, some sort of guarantee, or even a bit of swag, as long as it’s offered the right way, prospects are likely to be receptive. Ultimately, you want to set yourself apart from your competitors — differentiation — so anything that can be presented as an extra will help your case.
4. Create a referral process
Referrals are one of the strongest types of leads you can get, yet many companies don’t have a formal referral process in place, and many salespeople don’t make asking for referrals an integral part of their job. To get an edge on your competition, put a framework in place for asking for referrals. Usually, this is done at the end of the sales process, once the prospect has been fully onboarded and had all of their questions answered, though each company is different. Either way, make asking for referrals a top priority.
5. Fish where your competition doesn’t
One of the best ways to get an edge on your competitors is to look for business where they’re not looking. Whether it’s through partnerships, obscure lead sources, innovative marketing initiatives, or by coming up with your own formula to drive business, the key is to not just do what everyone else is doing, but to forge your own path. While it will take some trial and error, and a whole lot of persistence, those who find their own way to generate business will get an edge on their competitors and will avoid having to fight over the same few accounts.