I love attacking my competition. Our company's culture is competitive, and we firmly believe in having a common enemy. There are certain times, though, when looking to destroy your competitors can be foolish. After a certain point of competing in my market, I've realized it is wise to choose your battles carefully. In fact, there are times when you should love your rivals. What this will do is open up your mind about how you can differentiate yourself from and work with your competition instead of fighting them, which in turn will allow you to dominate a niche, and help you avoid engaging in useless battles that no one wins. Here's how you can work with your opponents to get ahead.

Be a great add-on for a competitor's product

Often, an established competitor will have a variety of products that it can offer. As a startup, the worst thing you can do is imitate every one of your competitor's products. Instead, you need to pick the one product that you can sell and dominate. You may think that by having fewer offerings you're at a disadvantage. In truth, you can use your rival's extra products to your advantage.

One way to do this is to be a great add-on product. For instance, one of our opponents has an amazing database product. So, instead of trying to replace its entire system, I'll say how well our application can integrate with its product. And because we focus on our mobile technology, prospects choose our solution over our rival's.

This not only helps you gain business, but also lets you avoid confronting your competitors head on. You can work with them, gain quick market share, and then expand when you want.

Work with the missing opportunities

An amateur move when asked about your competitors is to talk behind their back. Sometimes, the way to sound like a pro in this situation is to compliment your competition in the market that you aren't going for. There are always missing opportunities that companies leave on the table. When organizations begin to grow, they must make decisions on customer bases that they will be leaving behind. A smart move on your end is to attack those opportunities that your opponents aren't going for.

A nice way to make this sale is to ask your purchasers what their ideal solution would be. No matter how good your competitor's products, they will never be perfect. There will always be some limitations on what they can do. The picture you want to paint for your customer is that your company can make the solution perfect. Even problems that look small can be a great way for you to get in. Customers rank priorities differently. So look for priorities you can win.

Respect their specialties

When you compliment your competitors, you can also use your positive words for them to sell your solution. For instance, if you know a purchaser is focused on customer service, make sure you explain how great your customer service is. Also, tell the customer how great your rivals are at product development or onboarding. Pick something other than what the buyer wants. What this will do is subliminally tell your prospect to give reputations to you and your competitor. We see this all the time with companies in the media. People want to define things with a reputation. What you want to do is use this to your advantage. Don't do this by hating on your opponents. Instead, love them for everything that your customer doesn't care as much about.

Published on: Dec 28, 2014