When your competitor has an inferior product,… but still wins

When your competitor has an inferior product,… but still wins

Value PropositionImagine it’s the end of the quarter, you still have three prospects to get across the line to make your target. You review your notes one more time, mentally prepare your top argument, find your contact on your phone, and hit the call button….

 The phone is ringing, and after the fifth ring, there’s the connection. A bit of chit-chat follows, and after a couple of minutes, you get the news: “We’ve decided not to grant you the project – we’re sorry.” On your question ‘why?’ they answer: “They instantly convinced us about the value they can bring to the table. It just clicked at first sight.”

You’re quieted and think: ‘Now what?’ 

It’s a story I hear many times. The reality is hard to swallow but true: If your competitor has an inferior product, but better communication – they’ll beat you every single time.

I’ve experienced it firsthand in my previous work. I recall the period where we shifted from On-premises to the Cloud. Start-ups with 30% of the functionality could still win significant deals. It’s not about the functionality depth of a solution. It’s about how they solve the problem and the simplicity of getting that across to your prospect. 

Every bit of ‘noise’ we forget to remove impacts our ability to win. Yesterday I had a call with a software vendor in the digital supply chain. On the question ‘why you’ there was a list of nine arguments and the majority of the ‘key points’ left you in search for the real answer. Why not have one single point that’s crystal clear?

I believe the core of the challenge is this: We’re afraid to make the decision who we are for, and more importantly, who we are not for

We are worried that we’ll miss anyone in the market.

We are worried that one argument won’t cut it – that we need one more, and another, and another.

The moment we start to get sniper focused however – picturing that single company that’s become our biggest fan – it becomes quite easy to articulate what made that happen.

Think about it this way: To become big we have to focus small. To grow our customer base to 1000, 10000 or even bigger we can only succeed if we have the ability to convince one to select us over all the alternatives. And with that you’ll be able to find and convince the next, and the next. The better you are optimized to convince one, the faster you’ll get to a 1000 (and beyond). As a matter of fact – they’ll start to find you.

And on the clarity part. For every argument you make – think about it from the perspective of your customer. Is your argument addressing something that’s

  • Highly valuable – to them (not to you)
  • Urgent / Critical – to them (not to you)
  • And can you exceed their expectations on it

If any of the answers is ‘no’ – start again. 

These three simple questions force you to think about the outcome. What will the end-result look or feel like once they are using your solution in an optimal way? What challenges have they overcome, or what aspiration have they fulfilled? It’s about creating desire and urgency. That tension creates action. And this time it will be you that calls for victory, not that competitor with that inferior product.

Try it – The result will surprise you – it will make you want to buy your own solution.