Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? Your prospects are already working with your competitors, so they probably have long-standing relationships that aren’t likely to be broken up by a simple email from you — someone they don’t know.
But companies steal clients from their competitors all the time... so there is a way to do this successfully.
This article explains the do’s and don’ts of wedging yourself between these existing competitor-client relationships without stomping on your competitors’ toes or putting a bad taste in your prospects’ mouths.
Our advice is based on our experience of sending over a million cold emails on behalf of 250+ clients in 30+ different industries.
Firstly, never try to sell over cold email
Let me explain what that means. In a cold email, you’ve got about 3 or 4 sentences to firstly capture the reader’s attention and then get them interested in having a conversation with you.
Notice I didn’t say, “get them interested in buying your product.”
If your email hints that you’re eager for them to switch to your product before they’re ready to do so, they’re not going to buy your product... and they’re not going to want to talk to you.
So, instead of selling your product, your email should simply introduce your product as an interesting option and then position yourself as the conduit for more information.
In other words, your email should pique their interest and then sell the meeting to open the door to further conversation… and that’s it!
Secondly, never bash your competitors
Say your competitor is Company X. You have a superior product, but Company X isn’t all that bad and their clients generally like them.
If you come out and say, “Hey, we saw that you’re with Company X and everyone knows they’re a huge pain because x, y, z,” you’ve lost all credibility, because what you’re saying doesn’t match that person’s experience of Company X.
Rather than pretending you know what your prospects think and “bashing” your competitors, just talk about the value you’re going to add instead.
If you can very clearly communicate that you understand the prospect’s situation, and can help them understand how your solution slots into their situation and improves it, you won’t need to bring your competitors into the discussion at all.
Thirdly, less is more.
You’re much better off honing into one very specific pain point that your prospects experience daily, rather than listing off five great features that you’ve built into your product.
If you pinpoint just one of their pains accurately, that gives your email a 100% hit rate.
Whereas if you list off five features of your product and only one of them sounds valuable to the prospect, you’ve got yourself an 80% miss rate, which actually makes your product seem less valuable and more complicated because it’s bloated with stuff they don’t need.
If you can lead the decision maker to believe that your product solves a significant pain that your competitor’s product doesn’t (and that switching over isn’t too difficult), then they are very likely to buy your product.
Finally, don’t talk about switching. Talk about testing.
Even if you can convince your prospects that your product is better than your competitor’s, there’s still a final hurdle.
You have to also show them that there’s no significant downside to switching to your product — meaning there aren’t any important features missing, and that the transition isn’t going to be a huge pain.
If you talk to them about switching, these doubts will pop up in their mind and they may not mention them to you. So talk to them about simply “testing” your product without any risk. They’ll be much more open to that.
We’ve seen these strategies work time and time again, and the best way to apply this approach is not to think about it as “stealing” clients from your competitors. It works best when you simply think about it as adding value that your competitors are missing.