Set Traps for your Competition22 Mar, 2006 By: Robert Abbott imageSource
Set Traps for your Competition
Competition in the business
technology industry is a blood sport. When we are victorious we thump our chests
and celebrate, and when we experience defeat we nurse our wounds.
When clashing with the opposition, I prefer to outthink and outmaneuver them.
You know…work smarter not harder. One way to accomplish this is to set traps for
A trap is a future “situation” that you create for the customer. This situation
is going to place the competition into a weakened position or perception in the
minds of your customers or prospects. And when this situation arises, your
customers will likely conclude that your competitors are not a good fit for
Recognize the opportunities
Listen carefully for those items of concern your prospects express with a great
deal of energy and an almost non-negotiable stance. Issues to listen for are
poor experiences in the past with vendors that could have involved billing,
service, broken promises, etc.
When they share these experiences it is their way of saying, “I’ve been burned
before and I am not going to get burned again!” The more important message is
the message that remains unspoken.
You must be an excellent interpreter. They are not sharing that experience to
hear themselves talk. They are actually establishing boundaries. Do not step
over them! Get this right and you will always get the trap right.
Set the trap
You must decide what point of pain and difficulty you will use to set the trap.
For example, your prospect may express a strong opinion—or “boundary”—about
meter readings, toner orders or training provided to the users in the office.
Now you have several items to choose from. For a challenge, let’s take them all
on and set multiple traps.
Confirm the boundaries or important issues. Restate them and ask if you are
getting them right. “So please correct me if I am wrong, what I hear you saying
is that you want a business partner who will clearly outline in writing what the
meter reading process will look like, what process is used for getting you
toner, and you also want a clear plan for training?”
With a “yes” to the question the trap can be set.
Springing the trap
Reaffirm the customer’s issues
“When we return in the future to outline our proposal or offering we will
include a plan and an outlined process for gathering and reporting meter
readings, a process for keeping you supplied with toner, and a complete training
schedule that fits your needs.”
By restating their concerns as your direct response, you confirm you heard them
and have a plan. This reality will further strengthen your credibility with this
Next, immediately ask them, “If we come back with a clear and credible response
to your concerns and have an effective plan and process outlined for you and our
competition does not, who would you do business with?”
There’s your trap! When they choose you, the future situation is created and if
any competitor fails to deliver the level of response that you did, the trap
springs closed and they will be eliminated.
The only thing left to do is thump your chest and celebrate.