Competitors: Can’t Live with Them; Can’t Thrive without Them: Part II

PART II: How to Handle Discussing your Competition with Prospects By: Leah Daniels In my last post, I told a story about how providing clients with unverified information can kill your chances of winning them as a client. Now I want to tackle the harder question: What exactly should you say to your client/prospect when your competition doesn’t believe in playing above board? Well, that’s easy.

  • Show your prospect those things that your product/service can combat; this might be through metrics, successful placements or your history with a client.
  • Let your customers be your advocate and reference for those things which you can’t show. You should always have an arsenal of clients that can be quickly referenced at your fingertips. If you don’t, today’s task is to call three happy clients and ask them to be references for you – and tomorrow call three more and the next day and the next day until you have “an arsenal.”
  • When the competition points out something you’re truly not good at, be honest about what you and your organization are doing to improve it.

Sometimes, the situation is a little different: Your client may ask your opinion on your competition. Now what? For me, I believe you have no choice but to praise and be truly complimentary about your competition for something they are truly great at. I know what you’re thinking – my competition doesn’t have any redeemable qualities… Now let’s be honest for one second- all competition is good at something; otherwise you wouldn’t be competing with them. So discuss with your prospect that, although the competition is great at “thing/feature/ service,” that’s not the only “thing/feature/service” that matters for you, Mr. Prospect. Some easy strategies to employ:

  • You’re right Mr. Prospect, Recruiting Firm X is a top-notch technical recruiting firm at uncovering DBA’s, but I believe you’re looking for contract Java developers, of which we have the highest success rate.
  • With regards to Recruiting Firm Y, they are a great generalist firm for uncovering admins to support reps, but I believe, based on your desire to find specialized chemists for pharmaceutical drug development, you’ll find our focus on the scientific community in pharmaceuticals and biochemistry to benefit you in getting the right candidates much more quickly.
  • From what I understand, Recruiting Firm Z has put tremendous effort into building out their candidate reach, which is incredibly valuable for sourcing large volumes of candidates. Conversely, we’ve built our business on understanding the requirements and culture of your business, so while we will bring you less candidates, each candidate will be a great option for your unique business.
  • While I understand that Recruiting Firm Q requests a lower percentage, quality candidates often take more work uncovering, and our candidates are nearly always hired by our clients.
  • You’re right Candidate A, that is a large recruiting firm with a huge brand, but the long-term relationships I have cultivated with your top choices for businesses will mean a quicker response time for your target roles.

And when asked the question: “Who is your biggest competitor,” remember one thing – the prospect either:

  1. Already knows who they are and are already talking to them
  2. Is too lazy to figure it out themselves, so they probably aren’t calling them anyway

But once that question is out there, you must do something with it, and either way, you are being tested. If they are already speaking with your competitor, remember our lessons from Part I of this post. If they are too lazy to call, it’s a great opportunity for you to be a hero and seal the deal all in one answer. Personally, I always choose a competitor that is well-known, a true competitor (that means I do lose some deals to them) and one that I can easily articulate both their value proposition and reasons why my product or service is superior. I never say we have no competition, or there is no one out there that is even in our league or anything of the sort. Instead say something like:

  • I would say our biggest competition is Staffing Company A. They have a tremendous brand and extensive reach, but based on the needs you have articulated to me- specifically your desire to work with industry experts- I think that you’ll find our company to be more in line with your business objectives.
  • The company I run into most frequently is Staffing Organization C. As you know, they have built a solid business focused on contract HTML developers. Given your need to ramp a team of Ruby on Rails folks, you’ll find our experience in that area is to your benefit.
  • You’ll be surprised to hear that I used to work for our biggest competitor ACDC Staffing. From my experience with both organizations, ACDC really has an edge in the perm placement market, but since you are looking for temp workers to start next week, you’ll find our company is structured to deliver workers immediately.

What do you think? How do you handle discussing your competition with your prospects, clients and candidates?

Subscribe to the Staffing Blog

Subscribe for trends, tips, and insights delivered straight to your inbox.