By Mike Crandall
April 26, 2022

Your real sales competition 

Finding your competitors means more than the companies with similar products and services.
Runners competing in a race

Who is your sales competition? Most business owners, executives, and salespeople think about competition in sales completely wrong. It may seem crazy, but it is true. As a sales coach and consultant, I hear comments all the time like, “We don’t have anyone we compete with,” and, “No one sells what we sell.” These may seem like odd statements, but they are very real and come up on a regular basis. 

I was recently facilitating a meeting with CEOs, and one of them shared, “I can’t believe Jim’s company is not bigger than it is.” Jim was part of the group, and it led to a lengthy discussion about his software company. The majority of CEOs in the group believed what Jim’s company created, developed, and sells is unique and doesn’t have any competition. The conversation went on that Jim’s company should be growing by leaps and bounds rather than struggling like it was. The company had been around for close to 10 years and was still struggling each year and even most quarters. The members of the group were mystified by this. 

As we continued the conversation, we discovered the company’s products and services were indeed unique and had little, if any, competition. The group continued to share that this was reinforcement to the point that Jim’s company should be growing like crazy. Even Jim could not understand why they were struggling so much.

I shared that Jim actually does have competition. His products and services may not, but his sales do. When I proposed this alternative view, the room fell completely silent for quite some time. I went on to ask a series of questions about their sales process. Jim shared step by step how they prospect, how they present, and how they close.  

When I asked how many other companies call on the same prospects, Jim again shared that no one sells what his company sells. I clarified my question, “Don’t think about people who sell what you sell, think about everyone that could call on them.” Do bankers call on them? Do phone companies call on them? Do insurance companies call on them? As I asked several more questions, you could begin to see the lightbulb over Jim’s head and everyone else’s heads.

Your real sales competition is not the company that sells what you sell. It is every salesperson who has ever called on them, regardless of what they sell. It is all of these other salespeople who have created the environment of defensiveness, distrust, and often dishonesty that exists with prospects. 

As Jim realized this, he sat silent, humbled, and even a little humiliated. He had never thought about his real sales competition before. Like most business owners, executives, and salespeople, he had only thought about the people who sold what he sold, which was really nonexistent in Jim’s case. 

The thought of who your real sales competition is might have you uneasy, and it should. Your competition in sales is not about products or services. It’s about all of the other salespeople who call on that company or person. 

So, let me ask, who is your sales competition? If you are not 100% sure, you should find out. Ask the prospects you call on, who else calls on them? The answers will likely surprise you. 

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About Mike Crandall

Mike Crandall lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. He is a Consultant, Coach, Trainer, Speaker, and Author focused on the Subconscious Psychology of Human Interaction and Motivation. His firm specializes in Sales, Management, and Leadership Development for Proactive Business Growth. Mike is based in Oklahoma and serves Visionary Clients across the United States. He can be reached at Mike.Crandall@Sandler.com or at (405) 844-1700.