All my competitors stink!

As the political landscape heats up here in the U.S., I am reminded about a classic sales mistake:  bashing the competition.


As I’m watching the election campaign heat up, I amazed at how many people feel the need to bash the competition in order to build themselves up.  Seriously, you can decide that a certain candidate is not the right choice – but I challenge anyone to find a candidate for president that wasn’t honestly thinking that they were not doing the right thing for the country – even if their method you oppose.  You may decide John McCain is the wrong choice, but regardless, he is a treasure to this country for his service and his drive in making this a better place.  Likewise, you can hate Obama’s need to raise taxes, but that doesn’t mean that he isn’t trying to better our country in his own way.  I’m proud to call both men my countrymen – even if I do have an opinion as to who would do a better job.


Likewise, most companies out there are trying to solve problems for customers.  They may be doing it in a different way from you – but most honestly believe in their method and how it will help those customers.  Recognizing your customer’s strengths is key to making your own pitch something that resonates well with your customer.  You need to recognize that your customer often has a difficult choice about what product to select – perhaps putting their own job on the ilne for it.  So, if you can help them with a convincing argument why your product serves them better AND build the argument why the other product doesn’t fit – even though it TOO is a great product – then you are more likely to get the sale.


For example, in a simplistic approach if I were selling you apples and someone else were trying to sell you oranges, I could bash my competition and tell you that my apples are sweet and his oranges are citris, and that citris sucks and causes acid in your stomach.  Or the better pitch might be to say, “While oranges are indeed a great fruit and have amazing benefits like Vitamin C, I know that someone who is as on-the-go like you will appreciate the tremendous benefit that a fruit like an apple can bring such as portability (no need to peel it), cleanliness (no juice running down your arm), and the perfect balance of sweet and nutrition.”   Your prospect knows that you have pluses and minuses, and that your competition has pluses and minuses and when you point out the pluses in your competition, it adds significant credibility to your entire pitch.  Your prospect is going to go through this exercise of weighing the pluses and minuses after you leave – so you are helping him/her by going through it with him/her and planting just what you want them to think about you vs them is a perfect tactic to bring your product to the top.


Perhaps the candidates could try to do more of the same…


UPDATE:  I posted this in the morning and this John McCain ad came out hours later: 
John McCain, are you reading my blog? Well done!


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