"Tommy, I don't know how to close this sale."

"What's our competitor offering?"

"Um, I know the price. It's lower than ours, but I don't know any other details."

My technician was calling me for help. The customer had told my technician that our competitor was quoting a much lower price.

I was confused: Looking at the requirements that this customer wanted, the price our competitor was offering just didn't make any sense. My gut sense told me that this was definitely not an accurate quote. But how could we possibly turn the odds in our favor?

I thought long and hard, and finally came up with an idea. After my technician left the customer's house, I asked him to call up our competitor.

Pretending to be a customer, he gave them the exact same requirements that our customer had, and communicated it in such a way that the amount of work involved was crystal-clear. He then asked for a quote, and true to what I had expected, it turned out to be much higher than what they had quoted our customer.

Then the magic happened.

The very next day, we heard back from our customer, who told us that our competitor called them to re-quote at a much higher price. Needless to say, the customer decided to work with us instead.

From that day onwards, I realized the importance of exploiting every possible opportunity to beat my competitors. I call this strategy stacking the deck.

What does that mean? The term "stacking the deck" originally comes from poker games, and refers to when poker players add aces to the deck to give them an unfair advantage. Of course, when you apply this to business, it means finding every legal and ethical way to pile on as many advantages as you can.

Want to learn how to stack the deck? Here are a few of my tried and tested methods:

1. Ask questions to find the trump card.


The golden rule of negotiation? Don't be an open book.

Start off by collecting as much information as possible, be it about your potential customer or your competitor. By keeping your cards close to your chest in the beginning, and only revealing your advantage when the time is right, you can increase your chances of sealing the deal.

For example, it would have been foolish for our technician to simply insist that our service is worth the higher price. If we had done that, we would have turned off the customer right away and lost the sale.

Remember: No matter what line of work you're in, you can stack the deck by asking the right probing questions. Once you've identified your customer's biggest concern, you should then laser in and tailor your pitch to address this specific concern.

2. Delight the people you work with


While we would like to think we're pretty logical, our decisions are often based on emotions. Keeping this in mind, you can stack the deck by building relationships with your customers, so that they prefer working with you even if you fall short in certain areas.

This is how you beat Goliath-like competitors, companies that have deep pockets and vast market reach. While it will be very hard to undercut their prices or invest in research and development to come up with more innovative products, you can instead put a smile on your customers' face every time they interact with you, so that they like you more and come back to your business.

On a more personal level, you can also do this at home -- simply buy your other half a bouquet of flowers or a box of beer. You can't lose by doing that!

3. Get outside feedback to overcome blindspots


Regardless of how successful an entrepreneur you are, it doesn't hurt to ask for input from other experts in the field. That way, you will find better ideas, and won't be trapped by your own perspective.

For example, I've been working on a book for some time now, and the original plan was to launch it once I was done. After speaking with an advisor and trusted friend, I realized that a better strategy was to build up an audience before the launch, so that I will get the most publicity when I launch.

Essentially, stacking the deck all comes down to making the effort and seizing all the opportunities that you have. By stacking the deck in every areas of your business -- sales, marketing, hiring -- you'll get ahead every time, and leave your competitors in the dust.