Think bashing the competition helps your cause? You might want to reconsider.

Think bashing the competition helps your cause? You might want to reconsider.

(from my blog at http://www.robertdavidhays.com)

So, we all wish that competition didn’t exist. We’re all sales people, we want to make the sale and the commission check to go with it!

How do you handle conversations with clients about the dreaded ‘other guys’?

Perhaps the knee-jerk response is to tell the client what a bunch of bozos ‘they’ are and how much their product stinks. Does that improve your position in the customer’s mind? If you’ve got a great relationship, and they really trust you, then maybe, just maybe they’ll ignore the kid from the dark side of the force who’s as cool and smooth as dark chocolate frozen yogurt (sorry – I’m due for my afternoon snack).

If not, and Bob from Acme Supply Company comes in with a problem-solving approach, has a strong value proposition, has nothing but complimentary things to say about you and your company (read: affirming their previous decisions to work with you-which makes the customer feel good), but has a candid, honest conversation about why Acme can better solve their business problems – you could be in trouble, amigo.

Work hard to solve your customers’ problems, have your value proposition down pat, and keep a positive posture when talking about the competition. Otherwise Bob may be knocking at your client’s door and stealing your business away.

Gleefully collecting commission checks,

Bob

Acme Supply Co.

So, how are you handling conversations about the competition? Smoke and mirrors? Honest analysis? The Industrial Revolution was neither industrial nor a revolution? Discuss. (Mike Meyers - SNL)

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Comment by Patrick Morand on July 31, 2010 at 10:56pm
I welcome competition. The reason? There are so many products walking in a customers door and many companies. Usually they are bombarded with too many different things (products and services) and it is an excuse to delay making decisions. When providers of similar products walk in to an office in close succession it creates a discussion. The Dr has two like items in his head which he can sort through and compare. I always tend to walk in and get the sale on my next visit when I show up a few days or a week after a competitor because the products are already on the Drs radar. Often the competitor helps develop the need long enough to establish they have that need just in time for the best service or market leader to walk in and get the business.

It always helps me when they are already thinking about or discussing my types of products before I get there.

All the other points aside about why bashing competition is a no no, keep in mind if competitors need to use your product as a standard which they believe they need to differentiate their product from they almost always lose that game.

The more of these little battles you win really make it hard for future competitors.
Comment by Bill Neumann on July 1, 2010 at 8:15pm
Good points. There are plenty of competition bashers out there. Funny thing is that it never seems to impress a dentist. If you can't figure out why you are better than the other guys then maybe it's time to work for the other guys.

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