Skip to content

Map Your Competition (inspired by @iannarino Elite Sales Strategies ch 10)

I don’t know about you – but I’ve never had the pleasure of selling something TRULY unique. Something no one else sold.

This doesn’t mean there were no differentiators. Only that there has always been competition.

Every one of the companies I’ve competed against had its own value and differentiators – the goal has always been to remain true to my ethics while earning the business and customers I want.

If you also read my blog, you may have followed along, chapter by chapter as I read Anthony Iannarino’s Elite Sales Strategies:  A Guide to being one-up, creating value, and becoming truly consultative.

If you haven’t don’t worry – this newsletter stands alone! It’s about Chapter 10 – Triangulation Strategy: Helping Clients Decide While Avoiding Competition.

So, you’re probably wondering why the subject line in your inbox is map your competition when the chapter title is clearly about avoiding it.

In order to avoid an accident, construction, or traffic on the road – you have to have an understanding of the roads around where you’re coming from AND going to. This understanding gives you “the context of the decision and the outcomes you need.” (pg 180)

Why should I buy from you?

Most salespeople have an answer for that question, some even have three. Many are written out and given to them in sales onboarding.

In my experience, there are two major things missing from the answers.

First: the personal piece! All of the things the human being answering the question brings to the table. The talents, expertise, and skills of the salesperson themselves.

I can’t stress enough: those human differentiators are especially important in the decisions prospects and customers make regarding who they work with.

Second: how the value is written is generic, trying to encompass all potential customers in the market. Instead of shared in a very specific and directed way to the person they’re talking with.

Why should I buy from (insert your competition here)?

Believe it or not, one of my prospects asked me that straight-up “why should I buy from ______?” after asking me why they should buy from me.

I’m smiling as I type this because I loved working with him, he always asked me challenging questions that made me better at my craft (and won me deals WAY beyond the organization he worked for).
I actually had an answer, because I knew the particular competitor. I gave him three reasons he should buy from them.

Then I asked, “for this project are those things more important to you, than working with me?”

Here is the funny thing – that was NOT a conscious strategy move, I was freaking out in my head and couldn’t imagine leaving the conversation without knowing if I had just lost myself the deal.

He laughed and said, “I actually ask everyone those two questions before I decide, because if you don’t know enough about yourself and your competition to answer – then you probably don’t know enough about my business to make a good vendor.”

Which brings us to…

Triangulation Strategy
“you will sing the praises of each of the competing models, explain who gains the most value from the model and how it is perfect in certain context… You will also confess each model’s sins, ensuring your client knows what concessions they are making and how each will harm them.” (pg 181)

Notice it’s not about your competition BUT sharing the information your prospect needs to make a decision that is best for their business. You have to be both willing and able to share both the benefits and drawbacks so the client can TRULY make the best decision for their business.

The map has been created – for this decision, this piece of the choice your prospect is making – for who to buy from.

  • Title: never forget that THIS decision map may not have any relationship to the next deal in the same account… or for the next customer you meet with.
  • Direction: one of the great things about a map is it helps you orient yourself; you know which direction is north – plus the relationship between where you are and where you’re going.
  • Scale (distance): looking at your decision map helps the client understand how far it is from where they are today to the result they’re looking for.
  • Labels: make sure you include and clearly mark everything that pertains to the decision being made, clearly – truthfully – completely.

The most important part is you become the legend for your competitive map; serving as the decoder for the symbols that may not make sense unless they’re explained:

  1. take the information you’ve just laid out
  2. match it to the destination (aka business outcome) you uncovered during your discovery conversations

all to help the client make their decision.

You’re designing the best root for your client to take on their buying journey.

Making my own maps,

SIDE NOTE: the chapter also goes into an awesome description of 4 Models of Value (pages 182 – 185 which you really should read and decide where YOU and WHAT YOU SELL fit, safety tip = don’t lie to yourself because you WANT the answer to be different than it really is). Plus talks about how they compete (pages 185-187).

PLUS: here are links to all the posts on Elite Sales Strategies. This is NOT a Cliff Notes version of his book – rather it’s my inside sales collection of what I was reading. The UpYourTeleSales twist on some ideas or how what Anthony wrote struck me at the moment I was reading.

Back To Top