Staying ahead of the competition

Staying ahead of the competition

Andy Preston
Andy Preston

In the first part of this article, telecoms sales expert, Andy Preston, gives four points on how to beat your competitors in 2011

Whenever I’m talking to salespeople or business owners, a question I’m often asked is: “Andy, how can I ensure I stay ahead of my competitors?” So here are seven things that you can implement to ensure that you stay ahead of your competition for 2011 and beyond.

Ringfence existing accounts

In order for you to stay ahead of the competition in 2011, the first thing you need to do is ringfence your existing customers. More and more companies are looking to replace lost revenue and profitability through acquiring new business, and some of the new business your competitors are targeting will include your existing accounts.

As a lot of salespeople (and a lot of companies) have got complacent, they’ve tended to neglect existing accounts, and those are now the ones that have been taken by their competitors, or the ones most at risk.
What are your relationships like with your existing accounts? What about the ones you haven’t spoken to for a while? The ones you don’t get on as well with? Would they tell you if a competitor had been in? And if they did, would you retain the business at the same price, or would you have to price match to keep it?


Target your prospecting

The quality of your prospecting will be one of the biggest factors in how successful you are in 2011. As the individual salesperson is asked to do more and more, it’s vital that the time you spend prospecting is time well spent.
That means you knowing who is a good prospect for you. Most people think they know. But most times they don’t. 
They’ll say things like ‘anyone who needs a new phone’, or ‘anyone who needs printing’, or ‘any small business’. That’s a big sign that they haven’t really got a clue.

There will be certain specific criteria that make certain prospects more ideal for you than others. If you don’t know what they are, you need to find out, and fast! If you’re really not sure, take a look at your existing client base. 
What was it that made them purchase at the moment they did? What was it that made them buy from you or your company, rather than someone else?


Operator solution

Operators need to deploy a solution into the network that can function at multiple levels, allowing the operator to control and monitor traffic at the network level to stop large scale spammers, but also at the subscriber level so that individuals can filter out bullies or inappropriate content.

When this form of security is in place the operator and subscribers together can effectively filter content for a more comprehensive solution. The filtering of content will enable operators to further empower subscribers who will be able to set their own definition for blocking particular content from coming through to their handsets, or their children’s handsets. This helps to prevent sexting and looking at inappropriate and upsetting images or messages.

Once these solutions are in place in the operator’s network, a user can then set specific controls to establish a blacklist of people. This is a useful tool for a child, as they can block a bully who is sending them abusive messages. Users can also set up a whitelist of friends who they are happy to receive messages from.

Alternatively, parents are given even more peace of mind as they can put controls into place on the device which put a stop to their children using it to access or send inappropriate content. Websites deemed unsuitable can be blocked from the phone.


Increase your activity

Now, once you’ve targeted your prospecting, the next thing you need to do is crank up the volume. If you’ve seen me or worked with me before, you’ll know I’m a big fan of a high level of activity, as long as that activity is good quality and is done with the right mindset of course!

One of the biggest reasons for this is that the deals you have in your pipeline, the more you can afford to lose.  If you only have just enough in your pipeline to hit your targets, or close to, then you’re always going to be struggling as you’ll be counting on every deal converting, and it’s devastating to you when any of them drop out.
Purely by increasing your activity, you increase your chances of success, and therefore increase the amount of money you can earn. Who wouldn’t want to do that?


Become a valued resource

Some of the best salespeople I know are a valued resource for their clients. They’re someone whose opinion their clients respect. They’re someone their clients turn to first to get information about purchasing decisions, either now or in the future. They’re someone that has a high level of credibility and clients trust their opinions and advice.

Not all salespeople are in this position however. A lot of salespeople complain that their clients ignore their advice. That they don’t listen. That they don’t take their calls or see them when they pop in. What bigger signs do you want that clients don’t see you as a valued resource?

In order to be seen as a valued resource, you have to earn it. You have to give value first. You have to get updated on industry trends, technological advancements and understand the impact that these could have on your client’s business. You have to be able to hold a business conversation with the level of decision makers you’re meeting.

Invest the time to do things like this, and it will pay you back tenfold.

Andy Preston is a recognised sales expert who specialises in working with mobile phone companies in particular, helping them generate more appointments, stand out from the competition, and close more deals. You can see and hear more about Andy at

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