Before the New England Pats played the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2017 AFC Championship game, the media asked a lot of questions – as always.
Quarterbacks Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger together have six Super Bowl rings. What bad things do they say about each other?
Brady on Ben: “Ben is an incredible player, and he’s been that way since he came into the league in 2004.”
Ben on Brady: “I have a lot of respect for him. I think that is well known. I think he’s one of, if not the greatest quarterbacks of all time."
In sales it is SO easy to slam your competition. When talking with a buyer in person or live on a video chat, you can do it with your facial expression. You know the look – like when you have contempt for someone. Your raised chin and slight smile, or sneer can show big disapproval. You didn’t say anything, but then again, you didn’t have to.
So why put your competition down? There is a much more elegant way to deal with this subject.
Stop talking about competitors.
They are your “industry counterparts”. I say this because they don’t do exactly what you do – you are much more, aren’t you? You are different than your competition – so stop using the word. Talk about those in your space, those in the industry. That immediately separates you from the others.
If You Throw Mud, You Lose Ground
Stop bashing or even mildly putting down the competition. You don’t have to.
Instead, focus on YOUR company’s strengths. Your unique value that you bring to solving buyers issues.
Oh, and YOU. You work for your company and that is a unique value no other company has. You.
Here’s how it sounds:
Buyer: “What about Company X? Don’t they have better support than you?”
You: “I’m not sure what they are currently offering. Let me reiterate how we will help you and why it ends up being the best program for the ____ industry. (and go on to explain YOUR offering)."
Instead of slinging mud, you focus on what you offer and why your prospective new customer will benefit greatly by it.
Think first before you reply if you see someone asking questions about your company or products on line, like in a LinkedIn group. I see this all the time.
It is so easy to put others down – those you sell with, those you sell against, and bash the competitors in your space. It just doesn’t get you anywhere but a negative reputation. Focus your energy on the positive, great things your company does and leave no space in your conversations for putting down anyone. Keep the “pro” in professional sales.
Take the high road, and let your “industry counterparts” fend for themselves.
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Lori Richardson helps mid-sized companies grow revenues by solving key issues in their sales department - like recruiting, retention, diversity hiring, process, pipeline and leadership. She speaks at CEO groups on topics of sales growth. Clients include companies in the technology, telecom, manufacturing, distribution, and professional services industries. Subscribe to the award-winning blog, follow her on Twitter
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