Jim Pancero is a big guy with big ideas! We've known each other a long time. And over the years, if there’s one thing I know about Jim, is that while some speakers and authors “love to embellish,” — Jim “loves to substantiate.”
As you'll soon discover, he digs a logical approach to success. Proof. And numbers, to back-up his findings and assertions.
Jeff Blackman: Why do you ask business owners, entrepreneurs, leaders and salespeople to rate their competitive awareness?
Jim Pancero: Having a comprehensive understanding of your competition and how they sell against you is a critical foundation to successful strategic selling.
How can you effectively communicate your competitive uniqueness and added value if you have no idea what your competition is already saying? When your prospect asks competitors, and you, "Why, should I buy from you?”—you shouldn't be stumped.
You need to know, how high your competitive awareness is. I urge people, (on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the strongest), to pick a number that represents their current level of competitive awareness.
Once the “rating” is established, it’s time to increase it, by conducting research, competitive comparisons, interviewing customers, etc.
JB: Yet, that's only one aspect of competitive awareness …
JP: There are three levels of competitive awareness necessary for success, especially in selling.
1. Product knowledge competitive awareness
This means you can explain in detail, how, and why, your products or services outperform your competitors. About 90 percent of experienced sales and business professionals have a strong level of product knowledge competitive awareness.
2. Pricing knowledge competitive awareness
This level, depends upon your awareness of your competitors' pricing and discounting strategies. Strong pricing knowledge helps you accurately identify what a prospect is likely paying for competitive products, once you identify current usage levels.
Competitive pricing also means you can confidently predict how much discounting your competitors are likely to do, to “buy” the business. About 70 percent of all experienced sales and business pros have strong pricing competitive awareness.
3. Message knowledge competitive awareness
Most business people and sales pros have effective product and pricing competitive awareness levels. Yet, it's the “message” level awareness, (or lack thereof), that causes the most and biggest challenges.
Even experienced pros don't understand what their competitors are really saying, when they're selling against you.
JB: So how does one elevate their competitive awareness, at all levels?
JP: There are several ways:
- Discuss these competitive awareness levels with your team; sales, service, marketing, ops, etc.
- Evaluate how high your product, pricing and message competitive awareness levels really are
- Decide how you can increase each level's awareness, and by when
- Improve your competitive information gathering, information is power; study your competitors' web sites, see if opinions have been posted in blogs, request their product samples, interview customers who might use competitors' products, etc.
- Know the purpose of "competitive collection" to learn, so you can adapt, consider a new strategy, make different decisions, take other actions, it's not to "search and destroy”— worthy competitors are valuable, for they help you become better and actually sell more
- Study, by knowing your competitors' impact on the marketplace, you can actually diminish their impact on the marketplace
For more of Jim's gems, head to pancero.com.
Jeff Blackman is a Hall of Fame speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a “business-growth specialist.” If you hire speakers, contact Jeff at 847-998-0688 or email@example.com. And visit jeffblackman.com to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff’s free e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff’s books include “Stop Whining! Start Selling!” (an Amazon Bestseller) and the revised 4th edition of the best-selling “Peak Your Profits.” You can also stay connected with Jeff via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter: @BlackmanResults.