Sales Strategy
7 min reading

3 tips for mastering the competition

Paul Berloty
Published on
control customer objections from the competition
"To be transparent we also have an appointment with your competitor. ”

This one hurts.

Until then, everything was going well. You had a clear path and you were confident: "It will sign".

Now you have to raise your game and beat your competitor.

If you work in a competitive market and you regularly find yourself in this kind of situation, read this article all the way through.

It will do you - a lot - of good.

Most sales people are afraid of competition and this is understandable. 

We imagine a lot of things. 

That our competitors will make an extremely aggressive offer. That they will offer a long free trial period.

Or even worse: that they "nicely" say bad things about our product and that our prospect makes his decision without talking to us.

"Sorry we really liked your solution but we have decided to engage with your competitor".

To help us better manage a sale where we are facing our competitors, we analysed almost 12,000 opportunities.

12,000 opportunities where the topic "competition" is detected.

The results are astounding.

If your competitor's name is mentioned at the beginning of your sales cycle : Good news

"To be very honest, we are looking for a solution like yours and we also see your competitors xx"

Although the level of play will increase, don't panic. The fact that your prospect mentions the name of one of your competitors is not necessarily a bad thing.

Very precisely, it depends on when your prospect mentions your competitor's name in your sales cycle.

When a competitor's name is mentioned at the beginning of your sales cycle (prospecting, discovery or first demonstration), you increase your chances of closing the sale.

Comparing an opportunity where your competitor's name is not mentioned against one where it is mentioned: you are 48.95% more likely to convert your opportunity.

This is an open door:

When a competitor is mentioned at the beginning of the sales cycle, it is a sign that your prospect's approach is serious.

They have identified their need for a tool or service like yours and are benchmarking several solutions.

On the other hand :

The later in the sales cycle your competitor's name is mentioned, the less likely you are to close.

Until you reach the same level of probability as an opportunity where your competitor's name is not mentioned.

When your competitor's name is mentioned at the end of the sales cycle: Bad news

"We have seen your competitor's solution and I feel they are more specialised on our need than you are."

This is going to be hard.

Often you can have an identical product to your competitor's but your prospect may perceive differences.

One of the main reasons why this happens is that your competitor has presented his product after yours.

"Be the last to speak" - Nelson Mandela

By having several conversations with your prospect, you have helped him to see his need more clearly.

Asyou talk to them, they become more and more expert on their problem and how to solve it.

By coming in second, your competitor has an even more prepared prospect in front of him.

And a well-prepared prospect means an even more accurate discovery phase and an easier demonstration.

Arrange to present your product last.

Just ask:

"When do you see our colleagues xx?"

Winning a deal against the competition

To give yourself the best chance, avoid being caught by surprise.

Master your competitor's product and leverage your differences.

You need to be able to explain why your competitors have certain features that you do not.

Be honest and avoid them:

"I reassure you, we are releasing this feature in two months..."

By doing this you prove to your prospect that your competitor is ahead of you and that you are lagging behind. And finally, you risk losing your prospect's trust.

Don't be afraid:

"No, we don't have that functionality and it's actually a conscious choice on our part ..."

Sell a Status Quo: Explain, without naming your competitor, why solving the problem their way is not a viable solution.

Explain how your solution is innovative and how your features will solve this status quo.

Obviously everything you say is 100% true and verifiable. Otherwise forget it.

That's selling. That's convincing.

To go into more detail: here is an example that you can download.

Advice from the best of us

We contacted our best readers to share their techniques for dealing with the competition:

1/ Louis Le Cour Grandmaison, sales representative at Alma

A sale where you are facing the competition is four points that I always remind myself of: 

  1. Do not judge your competitors, they have a solution that has the merit of existing and that must be benchmarked,
  2. Keeping a benevolent stance on the market, which helps to create a climate of trust with the person you are dealing with
  3. Differentiate on the strengths of your solution: technical, positioning, ... while ensuring that you meet the needs of your prospect and his problems

Propose value-creating use cases with key figures to project the prospect into the use of your solution.

2/ Raphaël Chaussier, Account Executive at Spendesk

Don't be lazy. 

Be proactive and strategic. 

You have to make your prospect realise for himself that your product is the best and that it fits him better. 

At Spendesk, we have a perfect command of our sales cycle, even more so when we are facing the competition. 

In 90% of the cases, we have a competitor opposite us on our opportunities. So it's really strategic for us. 

I would always advise to focus as much as possible on the problems of your prospects. By helping our prospects to realise that their situation is problematic we create a sense of urgency. 

Once we are aware of our customer's problems we can explain how our product solves them better than competing solutions.

3/ Céleste Gormand, Senior Inside Sales Manager at Doctolib

In reality, we rarely make sales where our prospect benchmarks several solutions. When we face our competitor it is because our prospect is already equipped.

Our strategy is quite simple: ask the person we are talking to about the use of the solution so that he or she can give us arguments.

  • What is not working, what could be improved? 
  • and when he knows our solution: how does he think our solution could be better?

Once we have identified everything that our prospect would like to improve, we can demonstrate, with as many examples as possible, how our solution is better.

Generally, our competitors have extremely competitive prices compared to ours or commitment periods, whereas we do not.

"Do you have any idea why the solution you are using is free?"

4/ Elric Legloire, Senior SDR team leader at Chili Piper

Focus on the problems that your software can solve and especially those that competitors cannot. 

That's what makes the difference.

It allows you to focus the conversation on the problems your software can solve that your competitor cannot. 

This is what differentiates you from your competitors.

The most important thing is to "sell" the problems your product solves, to explain why it is a priority to solve them. 

This advice also works for cold calling or negotiating a contract with your prospect. Before you sell a product, sell the problem it solves.

There is no sale without a problem to solve. Too many salespeople forget this.

It also allows for intensity and urgency.

5/ Dan Elkaim, Senior Account Executive at Aircall

In managing a deal with a competitor I have a few golden rules. I try never to break them:

Rule 1: never break the competing solution.

It is negative. It is useless.

Put yourself in your prospect's shoes for a second. 

If you need to belittle your competitors to sell your solution, it may be that your solution is not the best...

Instead, answer:

"We know them well: their product is great, but ours is a bit different. For example, ..."

Rule 2: Know the competing solution inside out

This is the most important thing.

Focus on the features you have that they do not.

This allows you to better counter their arguments and address some of your prospect's fears about your product.

Always take a consultative approach. The question about the competitor will inevitably come up.

You need to be able to show your expertise and pitch the solution with language that the prospect has already heard from the competitor.

The aim: to present the competitor as a possible alternative that may meet their needs but which are different from those expressed from the start of the project.

"Yes, [X] could do the job, but if you want [problem to be solved] it's better to take a solution more suited to [use case]."  

Your solution better meets their needs. 


When you are faced with a competitor, don't panic. It is normal and natural.

Focus on your strengths, the strengths of your product, your company and the weaknesses of your competitor.

This is what will allow you to make the difference with him.

And whatever happens, never denigrate your competitor. Even if your prospect chooses him, he has his reasons. 

Try to understand them, so that you can beat him next time.

Good luck!

A comment, an idea, a question? Contact Paul, our CEO by sending an email to


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