Sam from Frameweld commented on my post about competition:
This is sound advice. But when you're a small company (or even a large one I guess) you really have to watch out because clients often encourage this! The want to know how you compare, who your competitors are and why you're better.
It is tempting sometimes to take a swipe at the competition but I always use the opportunity to talk about our competitive advantage.
Yes, Sam - it can be very tempting. Like a big piece of chocolate cake.
Potential customers or current customers DO want to know how you compare, who your competitors are, and why you are better.
Create a value proposition for your business that stands on its own. Demonstrate that with proof and references. Then just walk the potential client through some education on what you do that is different in the marketplace - sometimes that differentiator is YOU, or a process you implement, but there needs to be something - otherwise the customer perceives no difference and buys from whoever they choose.
When they ask about competitors, I tell prospective clients that many training and consulting organizations have sound advice. The difference that I have picked up on is that most don't reinforce or repeat with clients, and that is the only way for adults to meaningfully learn - by trial, by experience, feedback, and repeat. The other differentiator that I let them know I bring is inspiration. With years in the trenches, I know it takes more than a process implemented to increase revenues. This is where science meets art. We do this well because of where we came from.
Note that I haven't put anyone down in the process - that doesn't mean that customers are not used to this - be a leader in focusing on your own strengths and not others' weaknesses.
It was Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon who said, "Dont worry about the competition".