I’ve stumbled upon this interesting article on a specific objection to a sales pitch. It suggests 11 ways to overcome “I already work with your competitor” (or I dare to suggest “We already have a solution and everything is fine” alternative).
I found that derivatives of options 5, 6 and 10 working for me many times. We can paraphrase them as “I respect your choice, may I know why you’ve made it and how is it going so far?”. They are straightforward, logical, understandable and simple, yet allow for a start of a meaningful conversation. Many people tend to like talking about themselves and their work. Many also want to demonstrate they have made good decisions and choices. So, such questions tend to ‘open up’ people and help them talk. They also may help you fetch useful information about competition.
7 and 8 may be powerful, but need a good and current knowledge of the issues the business and person are going through. If you can find it – great! It would make you very professional, position you as an expert and strengthen your case enormously, since you are no longer ‘selling’, but actually solving their real problem. There is one issue with this approach though – you can’t use it every time, because you may not be in the position to get such inside knowledge. Hey, the good news is that you have 11 options and not these 2 only 🙂
In my opinion – 4 and 9 are ‘dead-end’ and I would never start with that closed punch. Maybe use them only after I am well into a good conversation… or better in a follow-up meeting. Number 3 is better, although is still quite narrow and not very ‘conversational’.
And finally, I am not so sure about 1 and 2 – they seem to be nice ‘hooks’ and attention grabbers in theory, but I do not see the other person ‘opening up’ after such introductions.
What do you think?
What works for you?