Sell Yourself
December 10, 2010

Don’t promote your business by slamming your competitors

Almost daily, I speak with business owners/managers about business practices in our local marketplace.

How a business deals with their competitors and how a business sells their products and services is a hot and highly emotional topic in most of my conversations.

I worked in the telecommunications industry for most of my career in sales. All of our education and experience taught us not to sell by slamming our competitors. It is not the way to compete. It diminishes your company’s credibility, it looks petty and tacky, and it really looks as though you cannot compete on your own merits. It can even make your clients feel foolish if they chose your competitor before speaking with your company and had some bad results from that decision.

There are times when a business needs to shine a bright light of truth on some bad business practices that can hurt their clients, when another company is not being transparent and is operating unethically.

Without seeming petty or tacky, though, your sales people can use this opportunity to educate their clients on problems with poor business practices (such as cash under the table deals eliminating collection of tax, no licensing, no contracts, no guarantees, etc). Showcase your company’s transparency, honesty, integrity and how you differentiate your business from your competitors who choose to operate unethically.

Demonstrate your commitment to your customers from the beginning of the sale to the delivery of the product or service and then follow up to ensure your clients are happy with the service.

Ask yourself a few questions on your own business practices and your approach to selling in a competitive market:

  1. Do you have any business practices that you are not willing to share with your clients? Is there anything that your clients could learn about your business practices that would surprise them or disappoint them?
  2. What are the business practices of your competitors that are fundamentally opposed to your business practices and values? How do those practices differentiate from yours and how can you professionally educate your clients on those differences and on your values?
  3. How do you make sure that you are not just badmouthing your competitors and that instead, you are showcasing the differences in values and good practices with your clients?

By becoming accredited by the Better Business Bureau, business owners have already differentiated themselves from their competition. They have shown that they agree to the BBB’s high standards of building trust, advertising honestly, telling the truth, being transparent, honouring promises, being responsive, safeguarding privacy and embodying integrity.

If you run across a business that you believe is demonstrating bad business practices in the marketplace, give us a call and we can investigate the issue. Our role is to report on all businesses in the marketplace by providing fair and factual information. We cannot report on hearsay. By reporting as much factual information as possible about a business appearing to be operating unethically, we can protect your future clients from bad experiences, loss of hard earned money and your industry’s reputation in the marketplace.

We can be reached by email bbbmail@mbc.bbb.org, or by telephone at 604.682.2711 (toll free 1.888.803.1222) or by fax 604.681.1544