Is It Okay To Throw Your Competition Under the Bus?
Your competition has strengths and they have weaknesses, just as you and your company do. If you have done your homework and have attended company-run training, you should know an awful lot about your competition and will have formulated a plan of attack to beat them while engaged in a competitive sales cycle.
If your attack plans are centered around throwing your competition under the proverbial bus, you may be setting yourself up for failure.
Attacking can Make You Look Scared
In his play, "Hamlet," William Shakespeare has one of his characters states "the lady doth protest too much, methinks." By saying this, his character reveals that she is afraid of what is going on around her; pointing out that if someone argues too much, that they reveal a hidden fear about the topic. When you attack your competition, you are revealing to your customer that you are afraid of the fact that they have brought up your competitor.
While a strong competitor should create a healthy amount of fear, that fear should drive you to "out-sell" them and to deliver more value than can your competitor.
Attacking Gives Validity to Your Competitors Strengths
When you attack your competitor, you may actually be increasing their perceived value in your customer's mind. The fiercer your attack, the more you are telling your customer that your competitor is someone you fear and that you are nervous about them being involved with your customer.
If you are so afraid and nervous about your competitor, your customer will assume that they must have serious value if they make you so concerned.
The longer you attack your competitor, the more value you are building for them. If you go on and on about how "bad they are" or how "weak their customer service is," the customer will begin to think "how good is your company is and how good is your customer service."
Attacks usually backfire and create a more challenging sales environment for you and a more friendly environment for your competitor.
Taking the High Road
Instead of attacking your competitor, spend more time building value in your company, your product and in having you as a sales representative. Let your competitor take the low road and throw attacks at you while you take the high road and concentrate your sales efforts on building rapport and earning a customer.
A challenge is when your customer brings up a competitor who you know to be weak in certain areas and not to "set the record straight." If you know that your competitor, for example, has a serious issue with their service department, not telling your customer about it will seem counter-intuitive. However, attacking them or "enlightening" your customer may lead to you losing credibility.
It is much more powerful to refer your customer to another customer who can fill them in on your competitor. Taking this approach actually increases your value as you are helping a customer to avoid making a bad decision all while not taking the low road of attacking your competition.
A Sign of a True Professional
A true sales professional is confident in their company, product, and abilities to deliver what they promise.
A true professional does not feel the need to attack a competitor and instead focuses on what makes him more professional and a better choice than any other choice.
A true professional does not respond out of fear, but instead out of confidence. In the end, a true professional will beat his competitor more times than he loses to them. He will earn respect from the business community and realize the many rewards that a career in sales can afford.