I was working with one of my clients recently. They are a relatively small firm of about 100 team members – especially in comparison to their typical competition. Their most significant competitors are the really big professional service firms. As a professional services firm, they realize that competition is about best understanding your client’s situation. The person I work most closely with is Dave.
Dave is a nice guy. His close cut hair, and calm demeanor might give you the sense he is the “Clark Kent” of the consulting arena. When facing competition, Dave transforms into a superhero (so to speak). They are never the cheapest provider. Even when going up against giants, Dave’s firm may not be the least expensive. It’s not that Dave becomes a slick-talking, rambling salesperson. Rather, Dave knows what it takes to stand out from the competition. Here are a few of the keys that Dave and I determined are core to their success.
So How Does Dave Win Against Giants?
- Know you get my best: A $5 million project for a $25 million company means that the client gets the A-list team from Dave’s team. In fact, at Dave’s company’s size, they don’t employ the entry-level, fresh-out-of-college employees. The client knows that their $5 million project is a high-priority for Dave’s firm and the entire leadership team. A key team member is not likely to be reassigned to another project. As a smaller firm, Dave does not have a big stable. Dave knows that he has to hire leaders as he cannot hide mediocre performers on a project;
- Access to the executive team: Rest assured that the $5 million project gives you access to Dave’s leadership team. A $5 million project is not their largest, but it is large enough that they want to stay on top of every issue and proactively ensure success;
- Innovation: Because Dave’s company has confidence in their team and process, they will often take on projects on a fixed-fee basis. Instead of making money just for showing up, fixed-fee means they share the client’s priority to finish on-time with success. Dave’s team knows how to set limits to contain their risk. But, Dave’s clients appreciate their confidence and commitment to delivery schedules.
When used properly, these keys can help you stand out from the competition, and are especially effective against your competitors who are known for bait and switch on personnel, limited access to the executive leadership, and invoicing for hours spent whether or not they help the client achieve their goals. Oh – and these messages can be quite resistant to Kryptonite. Just ask Dave.
Most important in all of this is to understand and appreciate how you can stand-out from the competition. The large firms will talk about reduced risk, additional resources, and impressive credentials. Once you understand their angle, you can better position yourself for success.
The next time you face giants in competition in your services business, consider these keys to deal a death blow to Goliath.
Competition is so important that is a central component to the Upside-Down Selling Immersion program on October 16 in Tyson’s Corner.