Miami Herald – How You Beat the Competition

Richard Pachter – Miami Herald – June 2006

If you are not giving your customers clear, unambiguous reasons for buying your product or service based on competitive advantages, you are missing the boat – and the sale.  Your competitive advantages are those qualities that make your firm better than the competition, according to Hollywood consultant Jaynie L. Smith.


For example, it’s not enough to say that you are “family-owned” or “the oldest weasel broker in Ojus,” because, by themselves, they are not competitive advantages.  But if you say, “our family invented the Johnson Rod in 1954 and our constant innovation guarantees that you’ll get the No. 1 selling rod in the country for 20 percent less than anywhere else,” that’s a competitive advantage.  So is this one: “We were here when the first weasels arrived in Ojus and can give you sameday delivery on the most colorful and talented weasels in the world.”


In fact, when you analyze most advertisements based on how the company in question conveys its competitive advantages, most fall far short.  Except, perhaps for branding or image advertising, that’s pretty pathetic and quite wasteful.  Ditto with sales pitches.  If you’re not telling potential customers why they should trade with you based on what’s in it for them, and why you’re better than other companies providing something similar, you’re in grave danger of being driven out of business or commoditized by having to compete solely on price.


Smith’s book is a no-frills, no-nonsense explanation of these principles, with simple and vivid examples that require little imagination or insight to comprehend.


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*Article was written by Richard Pachter of the Miami Herald