Long-standing relationships are difficult to break. That’s why those relationships are so valuable. It’s hard to crack the bond your competitors have with their existing clients no matter how awesome your company is and how talented you are as a sales pro, or even how charismatic and good-looking you might be
But it’s not impossible. You can find a wealth of opportunity by mining your competitors’ clients.
Are you curious why?
Because it is not uncommon that your prospects are unhappy with their current provider. If you can show your prospects a better and simpler future, with less chaos and drama, you’ll be able to pick off new clients.
Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to be in the fight for the long haul. If you walk away immediately upon hearing that a prospective client already has a relationship with one of your competitors, you’re giving up too quickly. Perhaps you could start a nurturing campaign in which you send compelling, value-laden emails to the prospect thus building a relationship slowly over time. You could periodically send them valuable bits of information or advice that show you are both thinking about them and coming up with unsolicited value. That will make you look good vis-à-vis their current provider who is likely taking the client for granted and no longer going above and beyond the call of duty.
One thing I like to do with prospects who aren’t willing to make a change, is to turn the tables on them and lower the barrier to entry down the road. I might say something like, “I completely respect your desire to stay with someone who is meeting your needs, I’d do the same. I like to stay on the cutting-edge side of the industry, so I’m always busy looking at trends and issues that might impact clients, as there’s nothing worse than the buyer being surprised. As these insights arise, I’ll be sure you’re aware so you can make sure your agent is taking good care of you.”
Plant Hurdles! Determine one or more things that you do better than any of your competitors. Then, when you’re trying to steal away one of your competitor’s clients, set a hurdle. In your conversations with that client, say something like this: “Whoever provides you with this service should always do ‘X.’” Of course, “X” is the thing you do well that you know other companies cannot do.
There are a number of techniques you can try to get new business, but there’s one technique I don’t recommend: discounting your price. That’s the easy way out, and it’s a short-term way of thinking. Some people think they’ll win over a new client by giving them a drastic discount. It might work, but know this – once you give a discount, the client might always expect that price. Plus, if you discount too much, you may end up losing money.
A willingness to discount may make your ability and effectiveness as a professional appear to be of diminished value. If you want a good client for a long period of time, you need to earn them the old-fashioned way by providing value as opposed to the easy-but-temporary way – discounting.
One of the easiest ways to respond to a discount request is to respond like this: “Our price is consistent with the value we bring to clients like you, and it’s competitive in the marketplace, so I don’t discount it.”