101 Best Sales and Marketing Ideas
ASSESS COMPETITOR’S SALES PERFORMANCE
A key challenge is selling is to handle your sales meetings in a way that buyers find they like. They should ideally like it better than the methods of other sales people with whom they deal (either direct competitors, or people who sell something different to the same buyers). If you knew more about what others do and how they do it, then maybe it would help you decide the best tactics for you, especially if that knowledge included knowing how buyers react to other people’s pitches.
From the world of retail selling…
One characteristic of selling to retailers is that in many cases, especially in small and medium-sized businesses, the sales meeting is not held in a comfortable office. It takes place out in the shop, perhaps even alongside the till, where the conversation must pause every time a customer approaches with a query or goods they want to buy. This is how the book trade often works. If you bought this book in a bookshop, then think about how it got on the shelf. A rep might have sold it via the head office of a chain like Borders, or they might have run through a list of titles with the buyer of an individual outlet. If so, it was almost certainly done out in the shop.
This means anyone in that industry can eavesdrop on the reps of competitors, and assess both what they do and how they do it, together with observing how the buyer seems to react to it. It really is not difficult. Browsing is axiomatic in a book shop: just loiter within earshot and appear to be checking books in whatever display you are near. These days many shops provide sofas for just that purpose, so you can do it in comfort. The same kind of things is possible in many retail environments.
- While you should not let this become a time-consuming activity, if you listen in on other rep’s pitches from time to time it is highly likely that you will learn something interesting and useful that can affect your own approach. I have even seen someone do this, then admit it to the other sales person, and offer to buy them a cup of coffee to compare note. It makes sense.