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"We don't have any competitors"

Posted by jacksjpt on April 13, 2004 at 5:22 AM PDT

I go to the occassional meeting or trade show where vendors are displaying their wares. I look at what interests me, and sometimes give feedback to the vendors when I have appropriate expertise. Some are interested in my suggestions, some aren't. Not so long ago, I was being given a demo by two guys about their company's leading product.

"What features do you have that your competitors don't?" I asked.

"We don't have any competitors" was the reply.

Admittedly, these two guys were young, despite their impressive sounding titles of "senior something" and "something else seniorish". But even so you would think they would know better. So in the hope that they or their spiritual bretheren are reading this blog, let me give you a few words of advice.

The statement "We don't have any competitors" does NOT tell your potential customers that you have a fantastic new product which no-one has ever thought of. It tells potential customers that your product must be one they don't need. After all, if you have no competitors, the market must be so small that no-one else thinks it worthwhile to build a competing product.

So listen guys, get to know at least a couple of your biggest competitors. And find some weakness in their product which yours addresses. Then when I ask my question, you'll have an answer that doesn't suggest to me that you are working for a company that is going down the tubes because it can't train it's reps decently. Because "We don't have any competitors" is synonymous with "we have nothing of interest here".

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