Winning Competitor Accounts (Eat Their Lunch)

Are you sick of trying to sell to people who don’t know or care who you are?

People who don’t see the value in what you offer?

People who never get back to you and who hang up when you call them?…

Well in this video I’m going to share how you can sell to people who already have budget and are qualified as they’ve already bought a similar product to yours already.

I’m going to explain, in a few simple steps, how you can walk into a competitors account and take their business right from under their nose.

The best way to share the insane power of converting your competitors accounts, rather than selling to people who haven’t bought before is with a quick example. So when I was selling medical devices, there were very few new hospitals being opened and every large hospital in the UK already had the equipment I was selling.

Now for a good chunk of that market I was in luck, they were already using my products and so the process of up-selling them to newer, more efficient equipment was easy.

The issue was that this wasn’t enough revenue each year to hit my sales target. I’m sure you understand the pain of knowing you can bring in a certain amount of revenue but you’re still short of your target.

So the only option available was to steal a couple of competitor accounts to add to my portfolio.

I thought this was going to be hard, I thought it was going to mean awkward conversations and doors getting slammed in my face… The reality was though that I actually found that it was far easier to convert accounts than it was to battle for the rare new business that popped up. This is because of the blue ocean effect.

Blue ocean strategy

Imagine two separate parts of the ocean. One is blue, one is red. If you were a shark and you were hungry for a kill, which one would you aim for?

Well lets look at both sides. In the blue ocean, a seal is injured, you notice it. You swim over and gobble it up whole. Yum, yum, thank you very much. Off you go to go and star in yet another shark bases horror movie.

This is what it’s like to take over a competitor account that has been ignored by the person that sold them originally.

Red ocean strategy

Now conversely in the red ocean, here we have a seal that hasn’t been injured, they’re actually fighting fit and they’re not going down without fighting back.

So the first shark comes along and has a nibble, but doesn’t manage to eat the seal. There’s now blood in the water which attracts other sharks.

As sharks can smell a drop of blood from over 3 miles away, loads more of them join the hunt.

You then arrive and if you want your lunch you have to fend off all these other predators, you have to deal with a seal that is healthy and so fights back and so the effort to score the meal goes up tremendously. Because of the blood in the water and the ensuing chaos we call this the red ocean.

So with that gruesome analogy, in sales, you always want to focus your time in the blue ocean, and taking over competitors accounts, if done correctly is just that.

Winning competitor accounts with the “Value Gap”

So lets run through the steps required to walk into hostile territory and steal an account from your unsuspecting competitor.

Lets take a look at the pain and stresses the potential customer is going to be under and where we add add value to them –

As we can see from the image on screen now, at a high level, there are two sales cycles needed to convert a competitor account. This is your competitors sales cycle and then your own.

The difference between the pain level that the customer is in at the end of each cycle is called the “value gap” and this is our leverage to get the conversion deal done.

As you can also see, the customer will have to go on a journey of ups and downs in their levels of pain before we can reduce it at the end of our sales process. This is the barrier to you getting the deal done that you need to get over with the potential customer.

So lets look at the steps in each sales process and this will explain what we need to do to convert the account.

The first sales cycle (competitors)

  • The potential customer realises they have an issue.
  • Their stress rises until they find and implement a solution through our competitions product or service.
  • Then they realise that they never not really got the full solution that was promised and finally they enter a level of pain that they’re comfortable living in, but where they’re faced with lots of small, niggling issues.

Next, we come along and start engaging with this potential customer.

The second sales cycle (you)

  • At first their pain increase again as they realise that there might be a better solution for them and they might have to go through all that pressure of changing suppliers again.
  • As they see the value that you offer, they start to worry that their colleagues are going to think that they’re stupid or incompetent for making the wrong purchase the first time around.
  • Then, they buy from you, implement your new solution and their pain drops.
  • Your new customer then finally happy as their pain from the preview so called solution has been reduced.

The gap between the point where your competition left them at and the point where they are now is called the “value gap” and being able to explain this gap to the potential customer is what will get you the conversion.

A couple of things to note about the value gap –

  • The bigger you think it is going to be, the easier it’s going to be to convert the account.
  • The process of creating the value gap is slower than selling the initial solution to the customer as we’re starting our sales process with a lower level of pain.
  • Once the first value gap has been established and used to close the deal, it will be harder for the original seller or someone new to break into the account. This is because they’d have to create yet another value gap and at this point the level of pain is so low that it wouldn’t be worth the customer changing supplier again.

So with all that said, to convert this customer to your product it’s a simple 4 step process of –

  1. See which of your competitor owned accounts are in the most pain and work out which ones you’d be most likely to be able to add value to.
  2. Using this knowledge of the potential value gap in your outreach to get attention.
  3. Layer on industry insights about the impact of this value gap during your presentations.
  4. Generate clear return on investment data to get buy in and close the sale.

There we have it. Getting to and communicating the “value gap” is the secret sauce to converting competitor accounts, swimming in the blue ocean and really dominating your market place.


So to quickly summarise, here are the benefits of closing a competitor account rather than hunting brand new business –

Need lots of education on the product and the value it brings. Already know the value of the product and so easier to communicate with.
Have to find, secure and fight for budget to make initial purchase. Budget already secured and available.
Fierce competition in the red ocean. Difficult to get hold of potential partners as they’ve lots of incoming communications. Most of the time, the competition hasn’t communicated with the account for months. They’re open to looking at their options and easy to get hold of.
Closing a brand new account leaves the competitor in neutral revenue change. Taking a competitor account increases your revenue and lowers there’s giving a double whammy impact.
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