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Eat Their Lunch: Proven Strategies and Real-Life Examples

In 2018, I published Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition. I still believe in that mindset and skills you find in The Only Sales Guide You'll Ever Need and The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Sales. All of these books aim to help readers lead their clients at a time when many salespeople instead try to comply with their clients.

Strategy for Selling to Large Clients: A Real-Life Example

Let me share with you one of my strategies from while I was selling. One very large insurance company sent me an RFP, a request for a proposal. I read the RFP front to back, and then I called the person that sent it. When he picked up, I told him that we were not interested in participating in the RFP. My contact asked why, and I explained that his company had used the same service provider for 15 years, and that I believed they had no reason to change. My contact said they were going to change.

I countered that my company measured our revenue at $40 million, and that they measured in billions, and that they would never choose a boutique company like mine. He said that I was wrong; they wanted a company that would give them more attention. I rejected the idea a third time, explaining that we didn’t know a single person in their company, and there was no reason to choose a company that no one knew. He finally gave up and offered to book a meeting so I could meet the five decision-makers. I was awarded $1,000,000 in revenue.

Assessing Your Sales Challenges: Key Questions

Let’s see how close your sales experience is to mine.

  1. Do you compete with gargantuan companies that are many times your company’s revenue or footprint?
  2. Do you sell a commodity that is being sold by a large number of competitors with little differentiation?
  3. Do you have to remove your competitor for you to win your client’s relationship and their business?
  4. Are your competitors calling, emailing, or walking into your client’s facilities to steal your clients?

Understanding the Levels of Value Creation

There are levels of value creation. Over time, the lower levels of value creation fail to score points from buyers and decision-makers. In ETL, you will find that the first and lowest level is talking about your company. The second level is your service. The third level is providing the promised business results. The fourth is the ability to start your conversation with the client’s strategic outcomes, positioning you as a strategic partner.

Embracing the Value Proposition: Moving Beyond the Legacy Approach

The first chapter of Eat Their Lunch will help you remove sales crutches, like talking up your company and your solutions. Instead, you must face the fact that you are the value proposition. The crutches you rely on to create value fail with your contacts. By removing what we call the legacy approach, you make way for more important conversations that create value for your clients.

Instead of these old and outdated sales methodologies, you focus on the client’s desired strategic outcomes. Here is an example: None of my clients in staffing wanted temporary employees; they wanted lower labor costs, flexibility, or hiring people who prove themselves reliable. Leaders and decision-makers are focused on outcomes, not on a story about your company, and so on.

Capturing Your Client’s Mindshare: Techniques and Examples

Eat Their Lunch continues with a chapter about capturing your client’s mindshare. I use an example of an insurance company where I had 0.0 percent mindshare, while their incumbent was losing mindshare. To capture your prospective client’s mindshare, you brief your contact about the trends that cause your client to experience a negative event or outcome.

If you start your conversation with a briefing that answers “why change” and your competitor talks about “why us,” the mismatch gives you a sustainable strategic advantage in a contest. This is true whether your client is a giant company with all of the other advantages you lack.

Effective Prospecting Sequence for Booking Meetings

To capture your client’s mindshare, you will need to book a meeting. To do this work, you will need to use many different mediums and provide insights that prove you are worthy of an hour of your dream client’s time. Eat Their Lunch provides a sequence for doing this by communicating over a period of 13 weeks, rotating 60 dream clients.

Combining Displacement, Strategic Value, and Relationships

If you answered yes to the four questions above, you need to create value that is strategic. To do this, you will need insights and information your client is lacking. If you are not truly strategic, your contact will not identify you as a trusted advisor.

Many sales organizations are regressing to transactional strategies and tactics, believing that there is little reason to pursue a relationship. For our purposes here, we will use this operating philosophy: All things being equal, relationships win. All things being unequal, relationships still win. Your job is to make all things unequal by creating greater value in the sales conversation by creating value and creating trusted relationships, the kind that allow you to deliver your advice— and have that advice taken.

If you pick up Eat Their Lunch, send me an email, and I will send you the workbook and a video course.


Sales Books 2024
Post by Anthony Iannarino on July 8, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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