Home > Jobs > Dealing with the Competition

Dealing with the Competition

I currently work for a company that dominates the market of a particular industry. I am fortunate in that I only have one other major competitor, however, they seem to come up in every meeting with customers.

I am looking for suggestions on how to respond productively and politely to customers who want to leave because our competitor is under cutting us so much that we can't even remotely compete on price.

My usual feeling when I get the call from the customer on this issue is to distinguish whether the customer truly can't affford our service and then to ask them whether they buy everything based on price, which I feel is a legitimate question but I don't want to come off like a jerk.

I honestly feel like when a customer asks me to meet our comptetitor's price it is similar to someone looking to buy a car asking a BMW or Mercedes sales person to match the price of a Honda. - by kenpo1980
I currently work for a company that dominates the market of a particular industry. I am fortunate in that I only have one other major competitor, however, they seem to come up in every meeting with customers.

I am looking for suggestions on how to respond productively and politely to customers who want to leave because our competitor is under cutting us so much that we can't even remotely compete on price.

My usual feeling when I get the call from the customer on this issue is to distinguish whether the customer truly can't affford our service and then to ask them whether they buy everything based on price, which I feel is a legitimate question but I don't want to come off like a jerk.

I honestly feel like when a customer asks me to meet our comptetitor's price it is similar to someone looking to buy a car asking a BMW or Mercedes sales person to match the price of a Honda.
If price becomes an issue, you have not done your job in explaining the value that price represents.

If your competition is offering the same value for less then you are in trouble. But I doubt the values are the same.

One approach is to ask your current loyal customers what they think of your competitor? Why are they loyal to you? What propels them away from your competitor and is that different from what compels them toward you?

What "experience" are these people receiving from their engaging with you that they are not receiving from your competitor?

And, if possible get this information face-to-face. You want sincere answers not something that makes everyone feel good in the moment.

That should start the ball rolling.

You may learn things that you could have never guessed. - by John Voris
John's advice on this is right on target. - by Gary A Boye
John is exactly right.

A few questions that may help the members give more advice:
  • Do you have any clients you won away from this competitor?
  • Have you gone back to any former clients AFTER they left you to go with the competitor?
  • Is this competition new to the market?
Often a competitor will show up in our market and intentionally price way below value as a loss leader to build a customer base and then slowly bring pricing in line with market levels.

Are you 100% certain the client is getting the same service/product? The reason “apples to apples” is and old expression is because it’s true.


It sounds a little like you may cringe or react in a way the customer can feel when they bring up this competitor? Be honest with yourself and let us know if you give up inside when this happens? - by tw5270
Thanks for the responses. Let me respond to some of the questions.

First, our competition has been around for a long time, even longer than us, however, we over took them in the market probably fifteen years ago.

As to the selling the value, I have certainly thought about this a lot and we do operate off of a selling model that works this way.
There is no question that our product has benefits that vastly surpass our competitor, however, if I am honest, there are certain customers to whom these features just aren't going to matter if they are being quoted a price that is roughly a third of what we quote.

One corollary to the above point is that I work in the lower end of the market with my company and I sell primarily to small business, many of who are barely making a living off of their business. So for them the price discussion starts before we even get into the discussion of the product and how it will help them. When I used to sell to the large corporate customers most decisions seemed to be made a bit more rationally by looking at the long term and short term benefit but I find my smaller business customers can't seem to get past the hard dollar amount. - by kenpo1980
Weekly Updates!
Questions and Answers about Selling
Subscribe to our mailing list to get threads and posts sent to your email address weekly - Free of Charge.