Thursday, 14 October 2010

Knocking the competition - Costa Coffee versus Starbucks

‘Rubbishing’ the competition years ago was considered by professional salespeople unwise.

The wisdom at the time went something like, even if your product had advantages over your competition you shouldn't criticise the competition in front of the buyer.

By criticising the competition you brought more attention to your competitor in front of the buyer and in effect were promoting their brand not yours.

Buyers might also pick up on the over- sensitivity of a supplier who talked too much about the competition negatively in their presentation. They might infer from such behaviour signs of psychological nervousness or even that the supplier has something to hide. .

Such a behaviour is not conducive to good business relationships in any case.

Some were canny to advise salespeople against knocking the competition because it might be akin to shooting themselves in the foot in the long term if at a later date they became employed by the former competitor either through acquisition or job move.

Now we live in an era of comparison of market websites. We live in an environment of increased transparency, in a time of new openness or so it appears.

Yet in a recent survey carried out in February 2010 a survey identified from their sample of 157 people that 84 (53%) identified themselves as ‘Coffee lovers’ liked Costa over Starbucks.

The interpretation that is found in the small print of the display card on the tables refers to the 62 % of those who identified themselves as 'Coffee lovers' from which they make the claim through a leap in logic to imply the majority prefer Costa.

It depends how you look at it. 62% of the self professed 84 'coffee lovers' is 52.

52 out of the research sample total 157 comes out as 33%.

So some might reasonably conclude 33% of the sample preferred Costa Coffee.

See Stuart Smith's Blog -Sorry Costa are you better then Cafe Nero


The ad world has used or misused (depending on your view)rubbishing the competition for years:-
1. Can you tell the difference between Stork margarine and butter?

2. Nine out of ten cat owners (who expressed a preference) prefer Whiskas.

3. Soap detergent manufacturers still run “ Doorstep challenges”

Whatever your preference of or indifference to a coffee shop, we are all conducting more business meetings in coffee shops. The Tack Buyers Views survey 2010 reveals that 39% of Buyers had met with Suppliers informal coffee shops in the last twelve months.

Click for free summary of the TACK Buyers' Views Research 2010 research.

Let the competition sell their proposition and we will sell our own. Deciding which is the better or most preferred is the Buyer's job.

The sales job is to work hard to earn the role of trusted advisor.

Who trusts salespeople who rubbish the competition?

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