Saturday, July 26, 2008

How Do You Deal with Your Competition?

To begin with, do not be afraid of your competition. Instead LEARN as much about them as humanly possible. If you do no know the competitive landscape in your industry and in your community, you are at an EXTREME disadvantage. And when it comes to competition, KNOWLEDGE IS YOUR FRIEND. You must do your homework if you want to WIN!Today’s B2B and B2C customers are sharp. You can bet they will do their due diligence on you prior to spending major dollars so you better be prepared to do yours as well.

Ideally, you begin by visiting the competition. One of the best and easiest ways to learn about your competition is on the web. Virtually every major company today markets their products and services online. In many cases they include specifications, pricing, client lists, etc. You can also visit their stores, pick up brochures, media kits, etc. All of this information is a goldmine in the hands of a prepared business person.

Before I forget, let’s get one thing perfectly clear: NEVER, and I mean NEVER EVER, knock your competition. If you do you will decrease your chances of success significantly. Even if what you are saying is true, your potential customers are going to be turned off by your negative approach. Further, they are going to wonder why you have to stoop to knocking your competition instead of extolling the virtues of your own company’s products and/or services. Let me tell you how I handle the competition...

There is absolutely nothing wrong with comparing your company’s offering with the competition as long as you are being completely truthful. However, you don’t want to potentially bring up your own objections, so you must know when to talk about the competition and when to keep your mouth shut! It really is that cut and dry!

For example, let’s say you are selling TVs in an electronics store. You are showing several options to your prospect and all is going well. They’re asking questions that you are answering with confidence and ease. All signs are indicating that you will be able to ask for and close the sale. Would you bring up the competition? NO! You’d have to be an putz to do that. However, let’s say the prospect mentions to you that they were considering a different brand that they have been hearing about on the radio. What they are actually saying to you is, “tell me why your TV is better than that of the competition.” Now it’s time to show them you are an informed professional. Your presentation might go something like this: “I’m glad you mentioned the the XYZ model TV. I’ve done a lot of research on that product myself and learned there are significant differences between that product and ours. To begin with you’re going to have to pay about twice as much for theirs vs. ours. What’s more that TV does not come with HD and picture in picture like ours does. So if you are wanting the latest technology and plan to keep your TV for a long time, you’re going to want to consider these points. Finally the warranty on their TV is only 5 years. Our TVs feature a 10-year warranty backed by a company that’s been in business for over 50 years.Did I disparage the competition? No. I simply stated facts and allowed the prospect to assess the information.

In some cases, your knowledge of the competition will be enough for the customer Want more information on how to better market your business, product or service, call the Goddess of Marketing today.
Mary Ann McQueen Butcher
Red Carpet Marketing, LLC

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