I Referred My Competition and Won

I have an unexpected meeting scheduled for this week. It’s with a company that has no idea who I am but is nevertheless clawing for my time. I used to think that sales opportunities only come once we build up a trust factor with the businesses, we’re after. I’m wrong. 

I’m very wrong. Even if we do finally build up that trust factor, it’s highly unlikely that our popularity will lead to a weekend 12:00 AM meeting request.

A newly acquired company has been hired as a contractor by a Fortune 500 company to interact with its customers. They’ve tried multiple integrations to receive those customer payments but to no avail. Three months into this acquisition, they are pulling their hair out. So much so that they decided to take their frustration to a very public platform, LinkedIn. Someone I don’t know firsthand suggested they talk to me and tagged me. Their frustrations were now in my feed.

There are many approaches one can take in such a scenario as the one called upon. In this public forum, I had one goal. Piggyback off that referral and further cement an authority. I tried something clever, and it saw instant results. 

The first step was to drop the commission breath. A prospect can tell when we’re just out for the sale and solely thinking about ourselves. It’s a turn-off. So how can we drop our excitement while creating an awe of authority? I decided to mention my competition as a possible solution for them too.

What? Really? Yes! Instead of taking on the role of trying to simply sell them my product, I decided to take on the role of a consultant. I publicly talked about two competitors of mine, and only after mentioned that “I’m biased so how can I not mention my company too?” I publicly talked about a few common scenarios that my new prospect might be dealing with and invited them to a private chat. They bit thirty seconds later. By the time you’re reading this article, we met too.

There are two lessons I’d like to share though I’m sure we can find more. One, make sure that others around you know your value. They are often not your potential clients. However, they have circles of their own. No need to sell to them. Instead, help them understand your value every so often. It’ll work its magic.

Two, selling doesn’t have to be about coming in guns blazing to convince the other. A true salesman is comfortable suggesting other solutions if it so suits the prospect. Your new future customer will better understand that you also have their interests in mind. Very soon, you’ll have the liberty of turning down 12:00 AM weekend meetings.

Shalom Markman
Merchant Consulting Group LLC

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