How To Hit The Competition Without Losing The Customer

Get over it!

If you run any type of business, you’re going to have competitors.

Even if your product or service is a unique one, soon you’ll have copycat products start surfacing. Competition is therefore just a fact of business life and one of the ‘virtues’ of living in a capitalistic society.

Now that you are over it, let’s examine some ways in which you can hit your competition without marginalizing your prospects. Your choices are about the same as a politician’s with regard to beating his or her opponent.

So you can:

1. Drag your competitor’s name through the mud.

You can try and discourage your prospect from dealing with your competition by slandering their name and claiming their products to be inferior. Only problem is that in the majority such cases this has the opposite effect and brings more attention to your rival in business. What happens is that people who knew nothing about your competitor now go to investigate for themselves the validity of your claims.

I’m sure you’ve seen this phenomenon where unknown books are banned, only to make unto the bestsellers list.

This approach can also backfire since you’ll appear as a jealous and vindictive business owner. Your arguments will appear more driven by feelings rather than hard facts. This is therefore not the best approach to take.

2. Making a recommendation with a major reservation.

This strategy is a little more ethical than the first but not anymore rewarding. In this case you make a recommendation such as: “You are welcome to buy your widgets from the XYZ company if your construction is needed only for a few months, because that’s how long they last.” Here you are really giving a compliment and then undoing everything you said before. This may be a neat psychological tactic but your business still appears in a negative light.

3. Invite an apple-for-apple comparison.

When you invite your prospect to compare your product side by side with that of your competition, you are showing confidence in your product without putting your competition down. So you can say: “I invite you to compare our vacuum cleaner to any leading brand and see the results for yourself. We are sure that you’ll be pleased by the results that you get from our latest model.”

The interesting thing about this approach is that most people wouldn’t bother to do the field test. Simply because you were not afraid to acknowledge your competitor’s product will instill the confidence in your prospect to get your product. It will be assumed that you already did the comparison and know the results otherwise you wouldn’t make such a claim. Even if someone did make the comparison then you have a new testimonial to add to your file.

There are several ways in which you can invite this comparison without making a statement as I did above. You can use a table that juxtaposes the features of your product against your competitor’s. Such tables can simplify the process of carrying out a test and ‘help’ the prospect towards choosing your product.

Another effective way is to quote credible sources such as Consumer Report magazine. Such organizations are not supported by advertisers and so their results carry real weight with the consumer. There are other such third-party organization that are considered neutral and their conclusions credible.

Outside of such organization you can point to reviews done by users of your products where the reviews are not used as an affiliate advertising tool. You are looking to erase all bias in these comparisons.

You may also be wondering how to address the case where your product is obviously inferior to that of your competitor’s. In such a situation, you simply admit your faults openly. There are times when extra features can be a useless luxury. For some people, a car is just a convenience to take them from point A to point B. They may not need the luxuries of a Porsche or have the money to pay for such an expensive vehicle.

So let’s say you were selling an autoresponder script that is definitely not as feature-rich as another script. You can state: “If you are looking for high-end script capable of emailing to a million-strong list and having all the fancy features that you’ll never even bother to use, then this script is NOT for you. However, if you are looking for a small but rugged program that will deliver your emails, without all the bells and whistles (and accompanying high price) then the Maxemailer is for you.”

Right away you see that you are showing the customer that your script will do the main thing that a product like yours should do, without having to invest a large amount of money in its purchase. You are admitting that your script is lacking in many features, but in the end these components may not be necessary to get the job done.

In addition, by admitting to your products ‘weak side’ you build instant credibility with the customer. Many marketers think that they have to hype their products in order to get sales. But many marketing tests have shown that if you admit to the disadvantages of using your product, sales increase!

Here is how I hit the competition on my copywriting service website:

“In fact, I insist that you make a side-by-side comparison of my copywriting results with that of any other copywriter. Then after doing a ‘split test’ (i.e. run my copy against theirs) you can judge for yourself the selling power of my copy.”

For an online business, your competitors are just one click away. Challenge your website visitors to shop around and compare. Most will not.

They’ll buy from you instead!

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