Who is your Biggest Competitor?

This morning, I was presenting my synopsis of The Catalyst:  How to Change Anyone’s Mind by Jonah Berger to a team of people needing to persuade customers and clients (internal, and external) pretty much all the time.

At the end of the presentation, the leader of the team said:

“Sometimes our biggest competitor is… doing nothing.” 

He meant that the client might not choose another service provider, or another product; the client might simply choose to do nothing.

So, this is a good warning.  What if your customer chooses to do nothing? – By the way, Jonah Berger says that one who persuades has to counter the argument of doing nothing by making a case that there can be great cost to doing nothing.

That got me to thinking, who else/what else might be your biggest competitor?

Rather obviously, if another company has a better product or service, that would be a real threat.

Or, maybe, if they have a product nearly as good as yours, that could still pose a threat.   If your product and their product are about equal, now it comes down to the clearest persuasive communicator, with the best marketing.

{Here’s a personal belief of mine:  never lie.  But, assuming that you have something of value to offer, yes, present your case in as positive a way as you can.  Here’s a quote from Frank Luntz, from his book Words that Work:
I do not believe there is something dishonorable about presenting a passionately held proposition in the most favorable light, while avoiding the self-sabotage of clumsy phrasing and dubious delivery. I do not believe it is somehow malevolent to choose the strongest arguments rather than to lazily go with the weakest}.

Here are some other possibilities for who is your biggest competitor:

Your biggest competitor… is your customer’s ATTENTION SPAN. (see this article).

Your biggest competitor…is your own inefficiency, or laziness, or inattentiveness, or…any other deficiency in your own approach.

Your biggest competitor…is your own unwillingness to keep learning, and studying.

Whoever or whatever you biggest competitor, it would really be a good idea to identify it, and go to work to make sure you can rise to the challenge.


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