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Reaching your dream client can be difficult. Creating an opportunity when your dream client is already satisfied and when they have no compelling reason to change feels like mission impossible. You are in the business of competitive displacements.

You might be tempted to seek more receptive “prospects” with the idea that you can teach them why they should use your product, your service, or your solution. If your product is new, if it doesn’t already have an existing market, this might be necessary. But if you want to grow a business and increase sales in a mature market, you are in the business of taking business from your competitors.


There is a reason some companies aren’t using what you sell; they don’t need it. Because a prospect is receptive is no indication that they have a compelling need for your product.  Nor does it mean that you can create a compelling case for them, no matter how good your pitch, and no matter how good your math.

The thing about selling to people who don’t buy what you sell is that they don’t buy what you sell. If they had a compelling need, they would already be buying. Some of the most receptive prospective clients you will ever meet will never buy. And some of the least interested prospects you call in will (eventually) spend enormous sums of money with you.

Selling the Idea

The conceptual sale takes longer and rarely produces big numbers. Making the conceptual sale is tough. If someone doesn’t have the belief that they need what you sell, it takes a lot of time to make your case convincingly. That time would be better spent with your dream clients who already understand why they need what you sell and how it benefits them.

Avoiding What Is Difficult

You already know who your real targets are, you just wish selling was easier. One of the biggest reasons you want to sell to receptive prospects who don’t already purchase what your company provides is that it is simpler to call on responsive non-prospects then it is to call on unreceptive dream clients who already have a strategic partner that provides what you sell.

Truth be told, the coldest dream clients on your list are the most important targets for you to pursue. The longer it takes you to begin calling on them, the longer it will take you to win their business. The sooner you begin to nurture those relationships and persist in your pursuit, the sooner you will have an opportunity. That opportunity will never present itself if you spend your time with unreceptive, unqualified, non-buyers.

One final word about competitive displacements. Know that even if you are not aggressively trying to displace your competitors, they are competitively trying to replace you. Make no mistake about it, you are in the business of competitive displacement.

Post by Anthony Iannarino on February 17, 2016

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is the author of four books on the modern sales approach, one book on sales leadership, and his latest book called The Negativity Fast releases on 10.31.23. Anthony posts daily content here at TheSalesBlog.com.
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