Editor’s Note: In the following blogs, author and speaker Dave Kahle provides a handful of situations reps can walk through to better understand of the principles and processes you’ll need in order to develop effective account strategies.

 

What about the prospect who says, “We’re very happy with our current vendor?”
What’s your strategy in an account that’s loyal to a competitor?
Two possibilities. First, don’t compete. Don’t go head to head with the competition. You’ll lose. Instead, go around the competition. It is likely that the competitor is supplying a lot of the high volume, high visibility products and services in this account. That’s why that competitor is visible and why there’s some loyalty. At the same time, that vendor is probably not supplying everything. It is possible that this particular account is buying some things from someone other than the competitor. Those are the items on which you should focus. Don’t challenge the competitor head to head where he or she is strong. Rather, go after the little bits and pieces of business that might be currently eluding that competitor.

Take the business away from someone else – someone who is a smaller player in this account. Then, after you have gained some of these smaller pieces of business, you establish a presence in that account and you can begin to build on that basis. At some point, if you’re successful, you may be positioned strongly enough in the account to go head up with your competitor later. The first strategy is to go around them, not through them.
The second strategy is to clearly and plainly present yourself as a second option. Say, “Yes I appreciate that the competitor is doing all the business and that’s fine. Good for you. At some point in time you may want a backup supplier. It would be good for you to have a trusted secondary source.” You position yourself as the secondary source, the Plan B in their eyes. As you do that, you again create a presence in the account. If you’re successful in doing that, you provide the account a reason to see you again. Every time you are in that account you have an opportunity to push your agenda forward.

 

Dave Kahle has trained tens of thousands of B2B salespeople, sales managers and business owners to be more effective in the 21st Century economy. He’s authored nine books, and presented in 47 states and seven countries. To access Dave’s training, insights and tools online, visit The Sales Resource Center. Visit www.davekahle.com to check out a seminar near you

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