Competing in Sales with Well Established Competitors

Dear Professor Bruce: I am a small business owner who is forced to compete against well established, much bigger competitors. My sales force is trying, but losing ground rapidly and asking me what they should do better to compete, to win. Can you please offer me council and guidance on how to compete better to win?

The art of highly successful competitive selling is first and foremost a numbers game: the more sales calls your team makes, the more chances for successful engagements, and for rewarding opportunities. Just as important is the truth regarding sales as a formidable, scientific, and highly competitive business practice. According to Peter Weedfald, president of Gen One Ventures, “Selling is as much a science as it is an art”. You should docent your sales team with the proven “steps to the sale” designed to council, guide, and sell any prospect during any type of sales call or presentation. Whether it is for five minutes or an hour. Think of these smart steps as the ribs of the umbrella to profitable opportunity ahead. The steps are: The Opening, Market, Buyers, Competition, Summary, Proposal and the Close. These steps are the logical actions and ribs to professional leadership selling at its best.

Selling is all about smart, highly relevant and logical presentations designed to stimulate a sale. Selling is also about turning objections and rejections into profitable opportunity. But selling is not a solitary art form. Selling, nearly by definition infers tough competition to contend with, to steer around in order to profit. As you surely know, hope is not a strategy. Hoping your sales team will sell more is not the substrate of competitive advantage. You need a professional and highly effective selling foundation, mirrored and delivered by each and every sales team member. Train them this way together in a room: observe them, critique them, enforce them, strengthen their selling ribs, and then benefit from greater ensuing results.

Your open must be creative, focused and highly relevant to the prospects world order, not yours. You must discuss market conditions, dynamics, and changes that may reshape opportunity positively or negatively for your prospect. The subject and profile of the buyer community for your customer is critical: “Who are they? What do they buy? Where do they shop? How much will they spend? How do you make potential buyers more active, more profitable for your prospects, products and services?”

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