I was watching NFL Football a few weeks ago when a Blockbuster commercial came on. It was talking about their Blockbuster Total Access streaming video service and how their service was cheaper than Netflix.
Clearly they were trying to capitalize on all of the negative press Netflix created for itself recently. You see Netflix announced it was raising prices and planned to divide the company in an effort to split their DVD service from their established and growing streaming video service. Netflix had left a lot of customers, this one included, quite angry about the changes and Blockbuster was obviously trying to use that to it's advantage. But did they?
Not the result that Blockbuster was clearly going for right?
Often in business we do our best to make ourselves (company/product/service/pricing) look better by pointing out where we differ from our competitors. We try to bolster our position in our customer or prospect's mind but all we really do is shine a glowing spotlight on an alternative; an alternative maybe in the customer's mind they should at least check out before saying yes to you. Think proposing for marriage by saying, "Are you sure you don't want that better looking person over there instead?"
More sales are lost because companies like Blockbuster spend their time, advertising dollars and sales people's pitch opportunities focusing too much on the competition and not nearly enough on the reasons why someone should do business with them. It's a lost opportunity and clearly has predictable and highly avoidable consequences. Yet it still amazes me how many times I see it.
Your competition is only your competition if you let them be it. When I am trying to sell something I look at it as a race; a race of one. If I run that race all by myself then clearly I can stack the odds in my favor that I alone will win that race. Blockbuster is trying to run a race they can't win, at least not with those tactics.
Something to think about as you look at how your company does things or how companies you look to do business with do it.