What should you say when a prospective customer asks, "How are you different from your competition?"
We sell email marketing services to small businesses like yours. During the course of every day, our amazing Customer Support department gets a ton of the phone calls, asking everything from 'How do I send my first email campaign?' to 'How are you different from your competition?' We certainly have documents on how we're different from the competition—but we stick with just the facts when talking to customers. I once got an email from one of our Customer Support team members letting me know that one of our competitors was saying not only wrong things about our services, but mean things.
Being that I'm pretty friendly with most of our competitors, I reached out to them to let them know that I'm fine with them selling against us, but asked if they could just use the proper information. I then gave them the correct information about our services, in case they wanted to give it to their salespeople to use.
Now what did I gain out of this? Well, hopefully my peers in our industry are like me, and they tell their teams to use the truth, and they instruct them on what the truth is. This is especially important when compared with companies like ours who are pretty transparent about what we do and what we offer. If they're not, I can't really compete, only tell the prospective customer that that's just wrong information and they should check it out for themselves.
Honestly, I'd want to be the first know if one of our people was saying bad things about our competition. That's just not the way I work and not the way I want VerticalResponse to be viewed. When a prospect asks us how we're different, we simply point out four points, then we say 'Why don't you test us both out, and find out whose services you like and who you like to do business with. Then make your choice.'
Seven times out of ten, our prospects are so impressed with our reaction and our transparency, they'll choose us in the longrun. Honesty is really the best policy when it comes to sales in my opinion. Isn't it?
JANINE POPICK is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and event marketing, online surveys, social media, and direct mail solutions. The company was ranked No. 2,802 on the 2012 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick