The Big 5: Comparisons

When you’re looking to buy something, you want to know how it stacks up to the competition. Your customers and recruits want to know the same thing about your company.

Did that make you cringe? No shame if it did—most business leaders don’t want to talk about the competition. But according to business expert Marcus Sheridan, you should take the bull by the horns and compare yourself to the competition before someone does it for you. 

Learn why you should talk about comparisons, plus get Marcus’ best tips for doing it well. 

Why compare yourself to the competition?

There’s a crazy idea all over Dirt World saying, “If we don’t talk about the competition, nobody will know they exist.” 

But they will. People want to know the difference between products and services, and they want to know what sets your company apart from the rest. They might start uninformed, but they’re not dumb. They’re going to find out. And since people love comparing stuff online, they’ll research to come up with that info on their own. 

Or, you could just tell them.  

You should compare your products, services, and company to others for one simple reason. When you answer customer questions, you earn their trust—and their business. The same goes for recruits. Answer their questions honestly, and you’ll likely have a loyal, dedicated team member. You come out ahead by comparing yourself to the competition. 

Example: Turning comparisons into a good thing

Marcus’ company, River Pools and Spas, makes and sells fiberglass swimming pools. His customers always asked whether they should buy fiberglass pools or concrete ones. But no pool company would address that question on their website. Fiberglass pool companies didn’t want to talk about concrete pools, and concrete pool companies didn’t want to talk about fiberglass pools. 

Marcus and his team decided to do something different. They could have talked up all the reasons fiberglass pools are great, but that wouldn’t have answered their customers’ questions. So they wrote an article comparing fiberglass, concrete, and vinyl pools. 

People comparing pools online loved the article and started buying fiberglass pools from Marcus’ company. By making comparisons no one else would make, River Pools and Spas generated millions in revenue. 

How to handle comparisons well

Comparing yourself to the competition takes a lot of self-awareness. But if you do it right, you’ll be unstoppable. 

Figure out who the competition is

Marcus suggests asking yourself these questions to get started:

  •     Who are your competitors?
  •     What products or services do they offer?
  •     Are those products or services exactly like yours, or are there different versions? 

Once you’ve written those things down, it’s pretty simple. Now you just have to answer the question, “If you were me, which would you choose?” And then explain why you’d make that choice.

Don’t talk trash about the competition

Trashing the competition is immature, and you can get in legal trouble if you use another company’s name when they don’t want you to. 

For example, you would never say, “ACME Demolition is a poor choice because they’re sloppy when they remove debris from the jobsite.” But you could say something like, “Some demolition companies leave more debris than necessary when taking down a structure. We make it a priority to leave the jobsite as clean as possible.”

See how there’s still a comparison without throwing anyone under the bus? That’s what you’re going for.

Keep your comparisons unbiased

When discussing comparisons, it can be tempting to hide your flaws or downplay the competition’s good qualities. But customers and recruits will see right through that dishonesty. After all, they want to know about your flaws.

In his next lesson, Marcus teaches you how to give an honest, unbiased comparison. 


← The Big 5: Problems 

How to Compare Without Being Biased


Join the thousands of Dirt pros who get our top workforce development tips.