AMiable Solution #349: Try It Before You Sell Against It
If you’ve ever peeled potatoes, then you know that having the right tool makes all the difference. A cheap vegetable peeler only frustrates while a well-made one lets you fly through your task effortlessly and in no time.
My point? Not all products—or services—are created equal, and sometimes it takes actually experiencing your competitors’ products or services to see how they really stack up against yours.
Yes, monitoring your competitors’ marketing campaigns and tactics will give you insight into what the “other guys” claim are their strengths and weaknesses. And yes, knowing your own products’ or services’ strengths and weaknesses will help you differentiate your offer from theirs.
But sometimes you have to try them both out for yourself.
You could highlight the fact that your vegetable peeler has a convenient swiveling head simply because your competitor’s does not, but unless you’ve used both kinds of peelers—one that swivels and one that doesn’t—you can’t truly appreciate or communicate the wonder that a moving part has on navigating lumpy and uneven potatoes.
Likewise, you could argue that your plastic handle makes your vegetable peeler more lightweight and affordable, but you may find that your competitors’ better-made, though slightly more expensive to produce, ergonomically-shaped handle more preferable because of the comfort it provides.
Actually feeling the competition in your hands or seeing it in action first-hand can give you insight that research and web pages and swipe files alone cannot.
This approach may not be practical for all products, services, or companies, but it does give you a strategical starting point.
Maybe you can’t experience your competitors’ offerings firsthand, but you can probably talk to those who have. Talk to your customers. Find out who else has provided them with the services you offer and see how they think your products compare. What did they like about yours that made them switch? What did you competitors offer that they miss?
The more insight you can get into how your products or services stack up against the competition, the better you’ll be able to serve—and keep—your customers.
Best wishes for building the best product. May all your vegetable peelers delight.