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    Any thoughts on negative selling, or comparison to the competition, especially for Asia?

  1. You need to operate from honesty. You need to show your strong points, but when the competition is better than you in some areas, you need to simultaneously show that. Often the truthfulness will work in your favor.
  2. I think it is very cultural. In England or Scotland I would never say anything negative about any competitor. Most of Europe doesn’t like that at all, period. Notice that European ads do not have comparison tables. In Korea I would do it at the drop of a hat—they want to hear you do it. In Japan it is a turnoff, but things are gradually changing.
  3. It is kind of dangerous to make a claim about your own product and then leave it up to the customer to determine if that is good or bad. It isn’t trashing a competitor by saying we get 50 wafers an hour and the competitor gets 25, if it is factual. To me, there are only small cultural differences for tolerance of a question like “Don’t you think 50 is better than 25?” You have to make some conclusions or you are not going to garner some interest in your product.
  4. Saying the competition screwed up at client X—you don’t want to say that in any part of the world. That doesn’t infer that you shouldn’t set up the circumstances that stimulate the customer to go inquire about a situation. In the process they then uncover the competitor’s problem you didn’t want to talk about.
  5. If you got strong differentiation, put it out there to the client. It is okay to use some published literature from the competition and say this is what they do and here is what we can do.