Why I’m not going to tell you I’m the best
Today I got pitched at by an over-enthusiastic insurance sales person. Although I’m not in the market for insurance, the salesperson in me loves to listen to other people’s sales calls because, well, they are fascinating! Anyway, this chap did his pitch and I said I wasn’t interested (so far so normal) and then he asked me ‘Why?’ Now that’s a great sales question – even it he wasn’t doing it in quite the right place. Anyway, I replied that I was happy with my current provider. He then did someone wrong – he proceeded to tell me that his company was the best out there and basically implied that I was lacking in the intelligence department for using someone else. Let’s just say that the call ended there.
Now, I happen to think that I’m pretty good at what I do (and my clients’ results prove it) but I cannot ever recall telling a prospective client that I am ‘The Best’. It is wrong on so many levels. Let’s have a look at why:
- How can I possibly know if I am ‘The Best’? There must be thousands of sales trainers and coaches in the UK (never mind the whole world). Actually, I tried to find out the exact number and I couldn’t. It probably fluctuates on a daily basis anyway. To measure myself against all of these I would need detailed statistics updated daily and measured objectively. I wouldn’t even know how to start that one and I certainly wouldn’t have the time.
- Customers aren’t daft and they know you have no way of measuring this sort of information. So if you say you are ‘The Best’ you are actually just expressing a subjective point of view. I don’t know about you, but I prefer facts to speculation.
- There is a good chance everyone else is saying it too. You’ve got to have some sympathy for customers here. Imagine 3 or 4 people pitching up for a project or a contract and all saying they are ‘The Best’. Come on! They can’t all be and it erodes your credibility if you say it too – instead of differentiating yourself, you simply end up looking like everyone else. The customer gets sceptical and this doesn’t help your case in the slightest.
- You don’t look professional – it’s a sort of ‘fall back’ position when you can’t think of anything better to say.
OK, now that’s all fine and lovely, but what should you do instead? Here are some techniques to try if you start to feel yourself falling into the “I’m the Best” trap:
- Talk about results, not how you compare to your competitors. So, explain how you will meet your prospect’s needs, solve their problems, help them achieve their objectives and give loads of examples of how you have helped businesses or clients just like them.
- Make it personal – in other words, show you relate to them as a fellow human being, a businessperson with shared experiences and challenges. Instead of saying “We are the best” talk about how “I believe we are the best at this [insert one of your best USPs] because we actually do this thing, instead of trying to, like some of our competitors.” This shows you care (I know it might sound a bit touchy-feely but caring is a huge deal, especially to smaller businesses, who don’t like to feel as though they are just a number).
- Does it actually matter about using the best? – Look, I don’t drive the best car on the market. I drive one that meets my needs. I’m not interested using the ‘best’ business coach in the world, because I know I will get very good results from an extremely competent one who is probably more local. I don’t buy ‘The Best’ branded biscuits when I prefer the taste of a non-branded equivalent. You get the idea. For most people, it’s just not necessary to go with ‘The Best’, because they are just not elite enough.
- The best might not be ‘The Best Fit’ – Customers want something that meets their needs. Let’s take my car example above. I would genuinely love to have a Lamborghini. However, it wouldn’t be very practical – I live in London, so the potholes would probably destroy it, I’d be worried all the time about it getting damaged and it’s not a very practical car to use to ferry about 2 school aged children. It doesn’t meet my needs. One of my clients had a Rolls Royce – she hated it because it was so huge she couldn’t park it and she struggled to drive it because she was petite. It wasn’t a good fit for her. She swapped it for a little runaround car which she absolutely loved.
So in conclusion, most clients aren’t that bothered by whether you are the best or not. What they want to know is that you:
- Provide a good product or service
- Are dependable and reliable
- Are honest
- Provide good customer service and support
- Give knowledgeable advice and guidance
- Provide value for money
So, no need to make false promises, just tell the truth and you won’t go far wrong.
If you just want some simple sales tips right now, download Janet’s 8 Proven Sales Tips