I was once told about a very unusual place in Solingen, Germany called Museum Plagiarius. This site supposedly only showcases knockoffs of various items by exhibiting the fakes alongside their authentic counterparts.
Every year curators at the museum add to the collection by soliciting nominees for the Plagiarius Awards. After the offending objects are submitted, the winners earn a spot in the museum.
Apparently one year, not long ago, there was a counterfeiter from Thailand that replicated a Swiss Fortis watch with such precision that it was given a special award for falsification!
I open with this narrative because the underlying principle is unfortunately a part of your selling universe that deserves some serious consideration. How do you create the perception of value for your buyer in order to differentiate from competitors when you both sell a knockoff, or something very near one? This is a real problem as technology shortens the timeframe for maintaining a competitive edge and facilitates making knockoffs that mimic and rival the details and performance of the genuine articles.
The bottom line is that customers view products and services as commodities with little difference between one and another. Whether you sell an exactly like product, such as a Honda Accord, or a not exactly alike item, such as a residential security system; you must overcome the viewpoint customers have toward me too products and services. The answer to this dilemma is to communicate more clearly the differences between yours and theirs, which is not as easy as it sounds.
In order to win this battle you’ve got to think outside the box and position what you sell as a package made up of four distinct components. Despite individual product or service similarities, the total package may vary dramatically. The four components of the package that must be compared are 1) the product or service, 2) the company, 3) sales & service personnel, 4) and the terms available to the buyer.
When a prospect says, “I can get the same product/service from (whoever) for a lot less,” you can’t afford to just offer a “deer in the headlights look.” You must know how to quickly and surgically point out the crucial differences between companies. Don’t be afraid to state that, “We charge more because we do more, in every area of the package.”
In order to compile this information you need to become a temporary gumshoe and complete some basic mystery shopping. Here are the steps to follow to complete this task:
– Choose the company(s) that causes repeated heartburn by their continued bottom-fishing and designate someone (or volunteer) to observe the competitors entire inspection/sales process, as a prospect.
– After listening to what they have to say, secure a copy of their contract while you “think about it.”
Now that you have secured accurate competitive “intelligence” on the competition, it’s important to compile it in a format that will be easy for you to use in your presentation, and easy for your prospect to understand as they are exposed to it.
In the Part II post on this topic next time, Selling Point will show you how to do just that, in order to differentiate your offering from the competition.
————Hit the Hurrah Button————
“Doug, I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the online training and coaching you are providing me. Every time I hear your voice, your personality and demeanor gets me pumped up and ready to go sell! Also I can’t thank you enough for the life experiences you continually share that are so helpful with situations I face every day. Now I’m able to conquer them due to the knowledge you are giving me.” Tyler Payne, Comfort Specialist, Barineau Heating & Air, Tallahassee. If you’re curious, look HERE.
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