Parrots and Copy Cats
Competing is one thing, copying is quite definitely another. Too many businesses show a distinct lack of creativity when responding to a change in the marketplace. Instead of launching something in their own voice, they parrot back to the market the exact same words for the exact same services that everyone else out there already has. They think they’re being competitive, but they’re really just being derivative.
The Parrot never says an original word, it simply repeats things other people say
There is a technique sales where you “echo” your client. They say something and you repeat it back in the form of a question. For example, if they say “the price is too high” you repeat back the words, but in the form of a question: “the price is too high?”.
The technique is supposed to elicit further explanation from the client about why they think your price is too high, and there is a chance that they’ll actually answer their own objection and justify the price for you in their response: “Yeah, this price is 20% higher than the last time you did the project for me… ah, but we did change some of the specs and prices have gone up all over the place since the last time we had to order these…”
Sometimes you repeat things back to a customer to make sure you understood them correctly and check that you and the client are still in tune.
But the parrot is just repeating back the keywords and descriptions and jargon it hears others in the marketplace saying to their own customers. It’s just sounds to the parrot — they have no meaning or context. They’re the reason why so many people make fun of the latest cliches and create “buzzword bingo” cards for their company meaning. It’s “sound and fury signifying nothing”.
The Copy Cat will make exact duplicates of your company’s offerings
The copy cats have no shame and will cut-and-paste entire website pages, brochures, photos, and even your products and services. Some of you may have read my recent article about launching a hot dog cart business; I bought a cart model called the “Big Dog Cart”, but during my research I found a copy cat company that duplicated the cart design using inferior materials and called theirs the “Big Hot Dog Cart”.
I don’t blame them for wanting to try and duplicate the popularity of the original Big Dog Cart, the problem is that the original has plenty aspects of its design which could be improved upon. I noted no fewer that six major changes I would make if I were going to design my own hot dog cart — why didn’t this competitor make a better cart instead of making a copy?
It might feel safe to simply repeat the products and processes already out in the world, but it’s really the most dangerous thing you can do in regard to business. How will people ever get to know how differently you do business, how superior your service is, how much better your products are when you look and sound just like everybody else out there?