Selling Against the Competition

Companies who don't understand their competitive advantage say things like "Our product is better quality" or "Our service is better." Even if a company has better quality or better service, it won't convince it's customers just by saying so, because many of it's competitors will be saying the exact same thing! You have to define quality or show how your service differs from the competition.

The best way to determine your competitive advantage is to break down the components of your product or service into four distinct categories:

Competitive uniqueness: What can I do for my customers that no one else can do? What can I offer that no one else can offer?

Competitive advantage: What can I do for my customer that my competitor can also do, but I can do it better and I can prove it?

Competitive parity: Objectively speaking, my competitors and I are the same here - no real differentiation.

Competitive disadvantages: Where does the competition have an advantage over me?

You may want to do your analysis by market segment, by competitor, by product, or all of them, but knowing your competitive position will quickly get you onto your customers' wavelength.

An example of competitive uniqueness exists if a pharmaceutical company receives FDA approval to sell a new drug. Since no one else has the drug, this company now has a competitive uniqueness with this drug.

An example of a competitive advantage might be where two companies market the same drug, but one is a large well-known company with wide name recognition and the other is a small relatively unknown company. If no real competitive advantage exists in your product, try to focus on your company reputation, your excellent service, your responsiveness and reliability, or any other factors than can positively differentiate you from your competition.

Competitive parity - what things are the same between the competition and us but are still important to the customer? Birth control pills are a good example. Several ethical drug companies make different formulations, but all with similar records for preventing pregnancy.

And finally, competitive disadvantage -what does the competition do better than you do? Your drug may have more side effects than the competitor's.

By doing this analysis, you'll be in a position to help your customers distinguish between you and your competition.

In order to discover your competitive advantage, you may have to do some intelligence gathering - talk to your customers, your salespeople, watch the local newspapers, attend tradeshows, talk to your customers' suppliers, build a file of your competitors' marketing and product information, do a debriefing when you lose a customer to a competitor, use a clipping service to gather information on competitors or on major prospects, obtain annual and quarterly reports of your competitors and prospective customers, watch the market trends in your industry and in your customers' industries-become the expert on your product or service and how it can help your customers.

Knowing, and being able to articulate, your competitive advantages sets you apart from your competition and clearly shows your customers what your company can do for them that no one else can do. Visit for more helpful information

Author's Bio: 

Bob Beck has over twenty-eight years of experience in creating, expanding, and running organizations with an unsurpassed record of accomplishment of success. Having been on the ground floor with three self-funded start-ups as a senior executive and leading their growth through IPO, Bob is truly a unique resource. Bob is a board member and is an executive partner to several firms. He is founder and CEO of Sales Builders Inc., a dedicated professional development firm that offers training, speaking, and consulting all geared to help the sales professionals that are on the front lines. He developed the ever popular and growing "Quid Pro Quo" series of sales training courses that has now been taught in ten countries and is being used with unsurpassed results by many firms throughout the U.S.
In 2008 Beck authored the bestselling book, "Winning in the 5th Quarter, Applying the Secrets of football to Your Life Strategy Playbook". This is an inspiring comparison between the lessons that should be learned from the game of football and the attributes of success that can be applied in all of our lives. Beck's insightful book called, "Are we in a Depression or is it Just me? Executing Positive Change to Get Results in a Down Economy" offers effective strategies that should be employed by organizations and individuals when things get tough. Beck explains how 'operational prudence' must be deployed and how over the years buyer-seller relationships have eroded in many ways. The dehumanization of selling in business today is affecting the entire buying/selling process worldwide. In this book Bob suggests ways to be successful and the required changes everyone should make in a down economy. Beck believes it is insanity for any organization or individual to think they can do the same things over and over when the market changes and achieve the same results. In 2005 Beck Authored the book,"Mutual Respect-The art and practice of the Quid Pro Quo Selling approach", which can be found at, BarnesandNoble, or In 1999 Bob was asked to contribute to INC. Magazine's book, "310 Great Ideas for Smarter Selling". You can find Bob's philosophies and tactics profiled in many leading trade magazines, on-line blogs and radio programs. Whether you are the CEO of a fortune 500 organization or a sales person on the front lines Beck's books, CD's, whitepapers, and articles can be your guiding light to success!