We love stories about underdogs. There’s something inspiring about fighting against all odds to emerge battered, bruised, and victorious. This heroism was demonstrated by the Western Bulldogs seizing the AFL Grand Final this week. When starting a new business, one of the major challenges to securing the sale is being the underdog. When you’re new, the buyer may perceive you as having less experience, being smaller, and having lower resources than more established vendors. How can you win sales as the underdog?
How to Win Sales as the Underdog #1: Lack of Experience –> Disruptive Start Up
One of the major motivations for starting a new business is to address a need that hasn’t yet been met. It is likely that when you started, you saw the way things are being done by the big companies, and thought to yourself “That’s not how it should be!” As a result, new businesses can use their innovations to disrupt an industry. A “lack of experience” means that your business can take a fresh look at how the product and its delivery should be.
What makes your service different to your bigger competitors? What gap in the market are you trying to fill? The better you can differentiate your product and demonstrate its value, the easier it will be to overcome the lack of track record.
How to Win Sales as the Underdog #2: Small Company –> Greater Agility
One major enabler for companies to grow large is its use of systems. These protocols allow for streamlining and greater efficiency. The downside can be a lack of flexibility due to red tape. If a client wanted to customise a product, the salesperson might need to seek approval from two or three other internal stakeholders before giving an answer. The small company on the other hand is highly agile and can implement changes in a fraction of the time.
How can you customise your client’s experience so they are pleasantly surprised with the outcomes? How can you use your company’s agility to your client’s advantage? If you can demonstrate your ability to flex with your client’s needs, this will give you leverage against a bigger competitor.
How to Win Sales as the Underdog #3: Low Resources –> High Touch
Large companies often have many clients, some of which will have high demands. Naturally, the strategy would be to devote the most attention to clients that pay the most. This can result in buyers with smaller budgets feeling neglected.
This is where you can come to the rescue! Which prospects have been ignored by its current vendor? Having a small client base means that you can devote greater attention to each. How can you help your clients “feel the love?”
Contrary to common wisdom, bigger is not always better! As the underdog, you can outsell larger competitors by focusing on your innovations, agility, and high touch. Use these points in your sales presentation, and turn your weaknesses into strengths!
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