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How to throw your competition under the bus without leaving fingerprints

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Don't you wish you had portable truth serum? I'd make it with an aerosol delivery so that I could just spray it on a competitor as the competitor was walking into a presentation with my prospect or client. Oh, and just to make things fair...I'd dose myself before my presentation as well. Let the games begin...

One little problem: They would still lie about themselves, as well as you and all of the other competitors, and never break a sweat. You see most of the time, your competitors do not think that they are lying, or even stretching the truth. They are just as convinced of their own capabilities, case studies and accomplishments as you are of yours. They also have formed opinions about your company that have now become their version of "God's honest truth." This selective data-filter means that gossip and innuendo get passed on as fact from highly convincing professionals.

Maybe I am too strong on this point. Take a quick 9 second quiz to see what your truth experience has been with your competitors, compared to the national averages.  (FYI - I'm taking down the quiz on 12/8/11 if you're reading after that date.) 

Survey questions:

Competitors have said something about your firm that you know to be not true-

a. Never happens

b. Has happened a couple of times

c. Happens all the time

A competitor has submitted a qualification or capability to your prospect/customer that you know to be patently untrue-

a. Never happens

b. Has happened a couple of times

c. Happens all the time

I have passed along hearsay or "common knowledge" about my competitor to a prospect/customer in order to educate and protect them-

a. Never happens

b. Has happened a couple of times

c. Happens all the time

The "better truth serum"

My experience has been that teaching a customer how to buy intelligently is the best approach to the truth, by providing your buyers' objective questions and standards by which they can evaluate competing ideas. This prepares them for the buying process and gives them a chance to better understand all competitors.

Some guidelines to the truth serum

1) When possible, use recognized standards, certifications and approved guidelines.

By utilizing these outside standards, you bring greater credibility to your point. Set out for your buyer a "buyer's guide" for understanding the best practices in your industry and what the top echelon of providers have in common.

2) When creating your own evaluation criteria, use objective language.

Leading questions and proprietary language are dead giveaways of your real intentions. If you believe that your company is the best solution provider, then your language should be objective enough that all competitors can be fairly evaluated by the standards you set out.

3) Don't get caught selling.

The point of the truth serum is to get to the truth. Truth has a sound to it, but when you are selling or persuading in tone and approach, the truth gets muddled and your message becomes suspect.

Smart buyers are the best answer to unscrupulous competitors. Make smarter buyers and you will do better in the discovery of the truth.

For more tips and strategies on throwing your competition under the bus without leaving fingerprints, register for my upcoming webinar on Friday, Dec. 9th.