Never tear down someone else’s product to make your product look better.
Negative marketing has become the foundation of politics in my opinion. It seems that most politicians spend all of their time telling you what is wrong with the person they are running against instead of telling you what is right about themselves. This does not endear me to the politician who is trashing the other guy. It makes me wonder what he or she is so afraid of.
This is true in marketing a product too. You should be passionate about the product you market. You should believe it is among the best available and have conviction about the benefits of what it can do for someone. But you don’t need to talk badly about the other product to make this happen.
I learned this years ago from a friend of mine named Jerry who was a savvy salesman in his own right. I was talking to him about a product that I believed would be good for him and then he shared with me that his wife had him using another brand. I went on to then tell him that our product was much better than this other brand. Jerry stopped me and told me that I should not need to talk about the other brand to talk about mine. I have never forgotten this lesson and it has served me well.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t ever make this mistake, because occasionally I get caught up in the moment and something I know about another product will come out of my mouth while I am talking to someone about mine. The last time it happened to me was about a year ago. I was sitting with a woman who was intelligent and interested in what I had to say. During the course of the discussion she told me that she used a competitor’s product, and I immediately mentioned that they use chemicals in their processing and that it wasn’t a good thing. I lost her right there. Even though my product is clearly a superior product and more cost effective. So the question is Why is this not a good thing to do?
If someone is already using a competitor’s product and you speak badly about it, you are now saying this person’s decision to use it was WRONG. This will immediately make them defensive. No one wants to be told they are wrong. Instead, you simply should point out what is special about your product and allow the person to come to the idea that your product might be a better choice. This gives them complete freedom and ownership in thinking that they are smarter to decide to us your product. Help them discover.
Help them discover.
There is an old adage that if you want the tallest building in town you have two choices: you can tear down all the other buildings to make yours be the tallest or you can simply build the tallest building. One is a destructive approach and will lead to a lot of ill will and the other is a constructive approach that will lead to admiration and respect.
So what should you do?
1. Let them know that brand x is not a brand you use, and therefore you can only share why you love your product and what it has done for you and others.
2. Provide them with information that allows them to make an informed decision on their own.
3. If you know that someone has used Brand x and then began using your product, tell this story but only from the perspective of they once used brand x and they are now using your product and have had great results.
I’ll give you a couple of simple examples that I see locally and I’ll be specific: Our team markets Lifeplus products which in my opinion are made at the highest levels you can make a product and therefore our customers get excellent results. We constantly run across people who use or have used products from both Shaklee and/or Juice Plus. Shaklee is a successful company that has good products and Juice Plus does an excellent job of marketing. The first rule of thumb for me is that if someone is using another product and they are open to talking to me about Lifeplus, there is a reason for this. Either they are not happy with the results or they are looking for a better value or they don’t like the way they are being serviced. Whatever it is, I already know it is something along these lines or they wouldn’t be open to talking to me in the first place.
So I simply talk about our products and position them to understand the quality and value and share stories that include the benefits. More often than not, they become users of Lifeplus. But not because I say anything negative about the other products or companies. I let the value of what I am offering speak for itself knowing that either they will become my customer now, or they will not. But in either case they will feel that they were respected and this will serve for down the road when they hear about Lifeplus again.
I hope this is a helpful perspective for you.