05 April 2018
From the customer’s perspective, that’s a very reasonable question.
The fact that they’re asking you this question means you may not have demonstrated enough value to make buying from you compelling. Customers are looking for the best value and not the best price.
Value is based on the total benefit you bring to the customer less the cost of your solution. As such, it’s essential that you best address the buyer’s needs, so that you can show the greatest value. But often salespeople focus on the features of their solution, and they miss the point of selling, which is to align your solution with the customer’s needs. Since many solutions look similar, the buyer may ask you the question, “Well, how are you different from the competition?”
To be in a better position to answer this question, you want to take the time to plan for the call, prepare key questions to understand their needs. The best salespeople do a tremendous amount of call research, particularly if there’s a lot of value associated with the opportunity. They try to understand the customers needs.
Remember that those needs may be different.
Imagine we’re selling a CRM system to a company and one of the firms influencers or decision makers is the Finance Director. They will obviously be interested in the price and the cost associated with maintenance, IT, or reliability. But then you have sales who are more interested in the actual functionality, ease of use, and the training of the CRM system. To identify those needs, you need to do your research, understand who the stakeholders are, prepare questions, and actively listen. If you’re actively listening, you’re going to start asking qualifying questions. Qualifying questions are great because it shows the buyer that you’re listening with the intent to understand their needs. To ensure that you understand their needs you might recap what you’ve learned from them, and see if they have anything they want to add. Then based on what you’ve learned, you can now prepare a solution that aligns with their specific needs. That’s the essence of consultative selling. If you’ve established the benefits associated with your solution, you’re now in a better position to respond to the question about “why they should buy from you as opposed to your competition.” Otherwise, you might end up defending your price or your service terms. What we’ve found is that the solutions that best align with a customer’s needs are typically the preferred solutions. It’s always more preferable to respond with “We’re actually the best solution” as opposed to “We’re the lowest price” or some other concession.