29 Mar Top 10 Reasons You’re Losing Sales to a Key Competitor – and How to Fix Them
What can you do to improve your approach to selling? How can you reach your targets and are they even reachable given your current sales process?
Is there anything worse than losing an important sale? How about losing a sale to a key competitor? What about continually losing big sales to your largest competitor? If you or your company find themselves in this situation, you need to get your act together, in a hurry.
Instead of blaming others for your lack of selling success, it’s vital to look in the mirror with a critical eye. What can you do to improve your approach to selling? How can you reach your targets and are they even reachable given your current sales process?
We’re going to look at various reasons why you may not be signing the deals you should be. We’re also, more importantly, going to examine the methods and techniques needed for you to start heading in the right direction. As Depeche Mode once said in their song Everything Counts: “It’s a competitive world.” There’s only so much pie to go around and you’ve got to have the right skills to get yourself a slice.
Top Reasons You’re Losing Sales to Your Key Competitor
- Poor pre-sales resources – Your competition will undoubtedly be arming themselves with a strong sales team. This lets them understand the needs of their client and how best to help them solve their problems and achieve their goals. Sales Enablement will give them the tools to succeed while Sales Operations will create the right playbook. That’s a tough combination to beat.
- Out-of-range pricing – while customers will rarely choose the product or service with the highest price, they also will not automatically choose the one with the lowest price. Your competition, through effective market research, will have found the pricing “sweet-spot” that has eluded you.
- Lack of perceived difference and value – Sometimes it’s hard for your clients to see the differences in two proposals. Your competition has been able to show the client why they are the better fit. They’ve added value to their overall strategy and set themselves apart.
- Failure to evolve – If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward. Your customer can tell when things are stagnating, and they will look for a different solution to their problems. If your main competitor is a little more cutting-edge, a little more forward-thinking, that’s a big temptation to a company considering a change in direction.
- No hustle – 68% of companies leave their suppliers because of a perception of poor attitude or indifference. Your competition has shown that they follow-through on problems, have quick response times and accurate information. To put any client on auto-pilot is a risk not worth taking.
- Not selling to the right person – Your competition has zeroed in on the ultimate decision maker; the person who makes the final choice. According to the Harvard Business Review, there’s usually one person in charge of choosing and evaluating products and services and 89% of the time that person’s decision rules. If you’re not selling to that person, you’re wasting your time!
- Lack of Engagement – You’ve been struggling to create and maintain a real interactive dialogue with your client. Clients are people, and people don’t want to feel like they’re just getting lip service, they want meaningful contact. Your competition has been able to nurture a creative, fun relationship based on trust with this client, listening to what they need – and effectively shutting you out.
- No customer surveys – Are you surveying your customers on a regular basis? I’ll bet your competition is, even if they’re only in the “fishing” stage. Regular feedback shows you’re listening. Surveys and questions give salespeople a window into how their goods and services are being perceived, places where they can improve, as well as seeing opportunities for further growth.
- Inadequate product knowledge – This drives buyers nuts. If your key competitor can explain all the advantages and value of their products better than you in terms of how these things provide value to your customer, you are dead meat! There’s no good excuse for this.
- Change in personnel – Companies generally want consistency in all aspects of their dealings with you. If your company has a high turnover rate, a change of salespeople can be a big problem without a transition strategy. Your competitor likely has a consistent training and sales process to smooth-over any personnel changes and minimize disruption.
To have a chance at regaining a lost customer, a company needs to improve their approach to sales, customer relations and accountability.
Lots of ways to mess up, aren’t there! It hurts to lose a customer, large or small, but a lost customer doesn’t have to stay lost. It is an uphill battle, though, no doubt about it. Once a vendor becomes established, Harvard Business Review says it has only about a 1 in 5 chance of being replaced.
To have a chance at regaining a lost customer, a company needs to improve their approach to sales, customer relations and accountability. Let’s explore some of the methods companies use in order to get customers back:
Top 10 Ways to Get Customers Back
- Reconnect and keep the conversation going – Just because a former customer is no longer a client doesn’t mean that all contact must be cut-off. You’ve likely developed a healthy relationship with their staff and that rapport should be carried forward. Situations change quickly in the marketplace and your former client may need a familiar face to help them in the future.
- Be open to change – Examine what went wrong. Dig deep. Change comes from within. Look for ways that you can add value to the customer experience and stop them from needing to look for better solutions to their problems.
- Lost customer surveys – Get a real answer as to why they left. Set up a meeting to ask them how you failed to measure up to their expectations. Usually your former clients will be candid and provide you with some real insights. This is the time to listen, not talk.
- Stay in the mindset of your customers – A great salesperson will try to empathize with their client. Work on anticipating their needs and feelings and look for opportunities to make their lives easier.
- Analyze your sales process – Make sure to audit your sales process to look for inefficiencies, lack of coordination and anything that can lead to improvement and better overall client interaction. Leave no stone unturned.
- Give them a reason to return – There’s no way you’re going to get that client back unless you can offer them something special. Everyone has their soft spot, it’s your job to find it and put it into play. A sale that helps solve problems is an ideal sale.
- Focus on value, not price – Price is not the only factor in deciding to change vendors. Find greater value for your customers; advantages maintained through price, schedule, service and relationships are strong currency that cannot be ignored by smart businesspeople.
- Proactive competitor research – Start a “book” on your competition. Ask how they were able to coax your client away from you. The more you know about the competition, the more likely you’ll be the one leading the pack.
Regaining a client will not happen overnight. It can take a long time so be realistic and take a slower, more measured approach.
- It’s a marathon, not a sprint – Regaining a client will not happen overnight. It can take a long time so be realistic and take a slower, more measured approach to getting them back. Don’t do anything sudden or rash that may reek of desperation.
- Contact Sales Beacon – When it comes to sales strategy and implementation, our 99% success rate speaks for itself. We’ll get you back on the right track; back where you need to be.
Losing a client to a key competitor will happen from time to time, so don’t panic. The important thing is to always look for ways to improve and never, ever take a customer for granted. Don’t give your competition the chance to steal your client away. By anticipating the needs of your client, now and in the future, you will avoid being in the position of having to land that customer a second time.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss how to get your company back on the right path. We look forward to hearing your story.