The art of getting a prospect to switch from a veteran supplier

Most prospects won’t change suppliers unless you can make a convincing argument to do so.

Here are six tips that may help your salespeople get prospects to look beyond veteran suppliers and consider your products or services.

  • Be unique. Offer something the present supplier can’t furnish. Offer enhanced quality, quicker delivery, better technical support and personal follow-up. Become such an expert that the prospect can’t afford not to do business with you. Uniqueness or differentiation is not a reactive strategy to an objection. It’s more proactive – something your salespeople can do prior to the objection. It’s not short term, but represents a long-term commitment to excellence.
  • Emphasize your company, not your product or service alone. Your salespeople should try to get the prospect to focus on your company. Unless the prospect is impressed with what your  company can do for him or her, the present supplier will keep the account.
  • Be prepared. The more knowledgeable and prepared your salespeople are the better their chances of getting enough interest for the prospect to even consider a switch. There’s a direct relationship between their preparation and the results they achieve. The more front-end time they invest, the greater the return.
  • Proactively probe. Determine the prospect’s wants and needs as soon as possible. Is his or her present supplier meeting those needs? Try to focus on problem areas where you offer unique solutions. Look for indications that the present supplier may be taking the customers for granted. Be perceptive to any signals that the prospect may not be completely satisfied with the service or support he or she is currently getting.
  • Practice value-added selling. Value-added selling is a good competitive strategy to sell prospects who are reluctant to leave their present suppliers. When your salespeople sell value, they position themselves, their products and your company as the best package for the customer.
  • Identify problems. Prospects become customers when your products or services solve problems for them.  So a key task in replacing present suppliers is to create interest by identifying problems that are important to prospects and demonstrating that you have the products or services to solve them.


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