May 29th, 2008 Systems posted by dmerritts View Comments

Different is Always Better

Don’t build a product or service that is better, build one that is different. Creating a better mouse-trap won’t attract more mice. Create a different mouse-trap that solves the problem differently. Even if your product is better, talk about how it’s different. Explain the advantages of how your product solves the problem differently and why that is good for your customer.

No, Not Better, Different :: Many marketing and sales people seem to focus on why their product is better. This puts the buyer into an immediate mindset of comparison. The buyer will now need to identify and evaluate each product. And, the larger the purchase the longer the evaluation period will be. You may have also just inadvertently identified new competitors; competitors the buyer may not have previously considered. Don’t do this. It’s creates more work. And, increases your average cost per sale.

Comparison Charts Are Evil :: Many sales people (and customers) request a feature-by-feature comparison chart. While this seems easy and useful, it ultimately creates more work in the sales cycle. Creating a comparison chart surrenders any difference in your product (perceived or real). You are no longer different even if you are. And, likely, publishing this simple chart will erode any differentiation you’ve worked to establish. You can accomplish the same outcome by providing features or functionality linked to positioning attributes. That is, build a list where each section of the list highlights the value (or differentiation) your product provides the customer. This allows them to take the list and use it to evaluate any other product (implicitly and explicitly).

Making Comparisons Work :: The key here is to build the chart along brand or product attributes that differentiates you from your competition. Establishing these categories ensures that your difference is secure. Failing to choose categories which make you different will result in a debate about why you’re better, not how you’re different and why that’s good for customers. So, remember: Different is Always Better
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