In most cases, before buying something, we stop and evaluate our existing offer. From a cart of milk to a computer, car or hosting service, we need to know we’ve made the right choice, that we’ve invested wisely, especially in a time where the economy is forcing us to act smarter. It sometimes happens that a certain buyers is extremely loyal to a brand, but that doesn’t mean he or she has never compared it against its competition. It only means they chose the brand they most like and trust every time they wanted to buy that same item.

When trying to decide what to choose, a potential customer might request offers from several companies. They might also tell you who you are up against and they might even ask for your opinion. And here’s where the tricky part begins!

What is the customer really after?

He/She definitely doesn’t care what you personally think of the competition. He’She might be looking for a better price, but he/she is not looking for getting his choices validated. What they’re really after is a somewhat objective comparison and something to make their choice easier.

How should you reply?

Unless you know one of the names poping our of your prospect’s list is a fraud and you have evidence of some sort to support you, don’t ever attack the competition. If you don’t know them well, it’s best not to start assuming they work out of some garage, aren’t reliable or other statements of sorts. You will hurt your customers feelings and make them feel you’re being condescending. No one wants to hear their choices are not good enough or that they are completely wrong, especially when it’s just someone else’s opinion.

When mentioning others, the potential customer is mainly interested in one thing: finding out what you do better than the others, what specific problems your product or service solves faster and better. Picking on the competition with no valid background will just make you look scared and threatened.

What you should do instead is focus on your solution’s benefits, on the problems it adresses, on its positive effects and on what other customers like most about it. If you have some valid comparatives, you can send them to your prospects, along with independent research and reviews.

Sure, you could just ignore all this, take an allknowing attitude but…

An example for the road

Someone I work with has just told me one of his customers also talked to a large competitor of his, mentioning he was testing the two solutions. The reply he got was quite arrogant, trying to diminish my friend’s service. Guess who the customer chose in the end? Hint: my friend was really excited about this!

The conclusion is, in such cases, you need to keep it sweet and to the point: what you have to do is convince all potential buyers your product is better. Not that you can act smart and joke about the competitors. You have to show them your services are the better choice, the one that works perfectly for them, the one they will feel comfortable enough with to recommend to others.

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