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"We don't have any competitors"

4 replies on 1 page. Most recent reply: Apr 21, 2004 3:06 AM by Heinz Kabutz

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Jack Shirazi

Posts: 20
Nickname: jacksjpt
Registered: Jul, 2003

"We don't have any competitors" (View in Weblogs)
Posted: Apr 13, 2004 8:22 AM
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Summary
Hey, stupid, are you trying to say your company is worthless?
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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".


Dan Creswell

Posts: 49
Nickname: dancres
Registered: Apr, 2003

Re: "We don't have any competitors" Posted: Apr 13, 2004 12:28 PM
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Having worked for several startups and formed one of my own, I understand where you're coming from but there's an unfortunate flip-side to your suggestion.....

And that's the fact that you've now set yourself up as a competitor for product X and you now get pidgeon-holed as being similar to product X. When this happens you start getting the inevitable feature comparisons, product X has this your's doesn't. This effect is exaggerated if you've set yourself up as competing with a mature product of some established company.

Of course, you could set yourself up as competition for some other small company's product but that might be as bad as the original position you're so critical of because it limits the number of potential customers immediately.

Do you think there's a definitive answer here?

Vincent O'Sullivan

Posts: 724
Nickname: vincent
Registered: Nov, 2002

Re: "We don't have any competitors" Posted: Apr 13, 2004 4:11 PM
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An alternate interpretation is simply that they're not about to give you - for nothing - a list of alternate products to theirs and a feature by feature comparison, without good reason.

Vince.

Jack Shirazi

Posts: 20
Nickname: jacksjpt
Registered: Jul, 2003

Re: "We don't have any competitors" Posted: Apr 15, 2004 9:13 AM
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Every product has some advantages over the competitors. Otherwise you have little chance of gaining market share. Newer entries tend to have fewer features but are simpler or cheaper. There must be a USP (unique selling point) or you won't sell.

Heinz Kabutz

Posts: 46
Nickname: drbean
Registered: May, 2003

Re: "We don't have any competitors" Posted: Apr 21, 2004 3:06 AM
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I agree Jack. Unfortunately there are few geeks who are good at selling :-(

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