Why Bad Mouthing Competitors Is Bad For Business And How To Handle It Better

Don't Bad Mouth CompetitorsIn the early days, your company hasn’t earned the attention, so there was no “bullseye” on your back. There was no real sellable product, so there was no competition. But then the product is seeing the daylight of the market. People are noticing you, and you are starting to notice competitors you never knew existed. And the fun part begins, because if there is no competition, there is no need for what your team has built.
The more you are out there, the more people will compare you to the competition. That is human nature. How you answer is what will distinguish you as a pro. And that is when the temptation to speak negatively of those you are being compare it is just bad for you business. But why?

As a side note for context, I am used to being the main person buying everything for the company. Signing up for services, negotiating the agreements, and dealing with vendors is my cup of tea. In any given day, I may be the one asking those questions. What I hear will often lead to quick end of communication or us becoming a customer/client.

Nobody likes negative Nelly!

We love doing business with people we like. In our daily communication, we hear negativity too often. Don’t add to it. Be the delightful part of the day in your future customer’s life. Keep it positive!

Trash talking is often a sign of weakness and fear

Consciously or subconsciously we perceive people, who talk bad about their competitors, as fearful and weak. Don’t detract from the product your team worked so hard to build. Positivity conveys confidence.

Talking bad about competitor may be insulting decision your prospect may have made

Often the prospect to is likely unhappy with what they have bought, and they want to change the situation. They may feel may be unhappy with themselves about it. Why kick someone, when they are down. Help this person feel good. Maybe your competitor’s product was the right choice for the situation your buyer thought he/she had at the time. Needs change. Be the right solution for the new need.

What are the three most common questions and how to handle them better

How does your product compare?

This is the perfect opportunity to listen and learn. Ask the prospect what they care about the most and talk about how your team chose to address those needs. Pointing out how you think competitor chose to approach it in a positive tone likely will may you look even better. The temptation to stray into negativity may be strong. Overcome it! If you listen well, you will be well equipped to help your prospect get his/her team to buy in. How many times you will end up the winner of the deal will surprise you. For the bonus, if you help them with the research, you are the one telling the story, not your competitor.

Why are you more expensive than a competitor?

Share what makes you think your product is worth what it is. Unless there are huge glaring differences (like comparing Ford to Ferrari), ignore the competitor comparison part and focus on your value. In the end, what your customer pays is/should be the reflection of what value they see in your product.

Why does your competitor have feature X, but you don’t?

Again, this is a perfect opportunity to tell the story why your team chose to approach a problem in a certain way. Share the logic, share the inspiration for it, share how you think you have taken care of it. Your competitors? They simply chose to look at the problem differently. Sometimes you are the right answer; sometimes your competitor has the one – help your customer feel you are the one with the answer they want.
In the end, even if they choose your competitor, you get to walk away with lessons learned and new information often invaluable for your product team.

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