Who doesn’t feel a little surge of joy when we hear a customer complaining about a competitor, or encounter any negative intel regarding our competition? But we should pause before jumping in to participate in badmouthing the competition. We need look no further than the current political stage to recognize the ugliness of negative campaigning. Likewise, sales professionals don’t do themselves any favors by criticizing competitors; in fact, doing so will likely do more harm to our own interests than to our competitors’. Here are 4 reasons to resist trash talking the competition:
1. Negative, petty or angry energy simply isn’t attractive; it alienates, and casts you in a bad light. Think about the impression one makes on a first date when he/she spends the evening trashing former boyfriends or girlfriends. It doesn’t matter whether the complaints are justified, the behavior isn’t very likable. And in order to build lasting customer relationships, we need customers to like us.
2. It reflects a lack of integrity. To build productive customer relationships, we also need customers to trust us. Talking badly behind someone’s (or some organization’s) back isn’t a trait of high character. Social media has greatly expanded the opportunity and temptation for bashing competitors, but be warned: no platform is truly anonymous, and the risks far outweigh the benefits.
3. Pointing out the flaws of your competitors can inadvertently cast a negative light on your entire industry, so everyone loses.
4. Time with customers is precious! Every minute you spend badmouthing a competitor is a minute you didn’t spend communicating your own solutions and value to the customer. Sales professionals are better served building their own brands and giving customers a reason to buy from them versus sharing reasons to avoid the competition.
A strong competitive spirit is a hallmark of any great sales professional. We just need to be sure we are competing on our own merits versus the weakness of others. At the end of the day, what customers want most from their sales professional is good, accurate information and insight, and a robust return on their investment. Let’s impress them with exceptional value and professionalism and leave the muckraking to those with nothing more important to talk about.