I love the idea that you shouldn’t want to be better than anyone else, just better than you were yesterday. The problem with that thinking is that you need to be better than your best competitor today.
Selling is, in large part, about creating a preference for you, your company, and your solution. When you are competing for your dream client’s business, being better than you were yesterday may not be enough.
You need to be better at nurturing your dream clients, and better at following up and playing the long game. He who gives up first loses. Somewhere, someone is developing their plan to create opportunities and your dream clients are on their list (as are your existing clients).
You need to create greater value than your competitors as it pertains to helping them solve their problems and capitalize on their opportunities. You need to serve them better when it comes to understanding why they should change now if you want to create opportunities where your competitors struggle. You also need to do better work than the competition when it comes to helping your prospects understand the root cause of their challenges, and to create a vision of their future.
You really, really need greater business acumen and greater situational knowledge than your competitors. Your ideas and insights can give you with a competitive advantage, provided you’ve done the work and developed the requisite chops. Know that there is someone out there who knows more than you and connect the dots more effectively than you can. If you are behind in this race, you are going to need to go faster.
The ability to lead and manage change is a serious differentiator for those who possess the skills. It’s a deficit for those who don’t.
It wouldn’t hurt you to have greater empathy, greater emotional intelligence, and greater trust. You can surely create a greater preference and flank your competition by being the least self-oriented person they are considering. Listening is a seriously underestimated competitive advantage.
And then there is commitment gaining. She who controls the process has the best odds of controlling the outcome. You are either looking over your shoulder because you have competitors who are better skilled, or you are the reason they are looking over theirs.
It’s not enough to want to be better than you were yesterday. You have to be better than your most dangerous competitor today. Platitudes sound nice, and they may make you feel good. But they don’t absolve you of the responsibility to improve your effectiveness in serving your clients or winning new business.