What's Wrong with Your Competition?
What’s Wrong With Your Competition?
While perusing the undersized clothing at an L.L. Bean retail outlet recently, I made the comment to the clerk that because of my six-foot-six frame, I am limited in where I can shop and generally do so at Eddie Bauer.
You’d have thought I had forced her to drink a glass of unsweetened lemon juice.
With a turned up nose and a scrunched up face, she eked out the words, “Eddie who???”
What’s wrong with shopping at Eddie Bauer? Nothing, in my eyes. In fact, at that moment, I was literally head to toe in the EB clothing. She was essentially telling me that I’d have better luck dumpster-diving into a Salvation Army recycle bin. I know she was only being funny, or at least trying to be, but the worst thing she could have done at that moment is the very thing she did.
Never badmouth the competition.
Contrast that story with this one:
Years ago while shopping for a new car, I happened by a BMW dealer. In the course of the conversation, the sales rep asked me, “May I ask what other vehicles you are looking at?” When I listed off a few names, he replied, “All good choices and all fine vehicles in their own right. Let me tell you why a BMW is better.”
What a difference!
To this day I remember being instantly impressed with the professionalism that this car salesman was showing and as a result, his product became the one that I wanted to (and eventually did) purchase. And three more in the years that followed!
Badmouthing the competition is akin to saying to a customer or prospect, “What a stupid decision you’ve made!” Is that really what you want to say?
The next time this happens to you, resist the urge to say with feigned shock in your voice, “Really? I didn’t know he was out of jail. I guess those charges were dropped!” Instead, point out the advantages of your products and services. You will indeed win style points with this approach.
Bill Farquharson is a partner at Idealliance. As a print-specific sales trainer, Farquharson applies a fundamentally-sound approach to his coaching, online programs (found at sales.epicomm.org), and live presentations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (781) 934-7036 to discuss your sales challenges.