NEVER Allow the Prospect to Bash Your Competition

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Competition spelt on wooden tableOne of the biggest and deadliest mistakes sales people make during a sales interaction is to let the prospect downgrade the competition.  In fact, most sales people love it when this happens and usually join in with the prospect in bashing competitive companies.

The Common Scenario
The prospect has had a bad experience or heard rumors of such about a competitor.  As the prospect begins to explain the problems with the other company, the sales person agrees with the prospect and joins in the bashing.

Prospect:          “I bought some of those widget fasteners about a year ago from Acme Widgets, and they failed miserably.  They cost  me a ton money and time.”

Sales Person: “I understand, Mr Prospect.  Many people have problems with Acme.  But I assure you, we are not Acme.  We have a better reputation and we stand behind all of our products.”

Prospect:         “Yeah…that’s the same thing they said.  The rep said they were the best and all the same things you are saying.”

Sales Person: “Yes, but please understand Mr Prospect, Acme is not the best company.  They have many complaints and they don’t use the latest methods and the highest quality materials…”

The Problem
While this seems like it makes perfect sense, it causes enormous and often irreversible problems.  When a customer has had a problem with a similar company, understand that it affects the customer’s view and trust of ALL like businesses, not just the culprit.

When you confirm the prospect’s fears and distrust of the competition, you validate those same fears and distrust of your company and the industry.  In effect, you are saying, “Yes, you are correct, Mr Prospect.  Some companies in my business cannot be trusted.”

Well…that includes you!

Defend the Competition and the Industry and Rise Above
Instead of joining in the negative degrading party, defend the competition and the industry and elevate you and your firm to another level.

Prospect:          “I bought some of those widget fasteners about a year ago from Acme Widgets, and they failed miserably.  They cost me a ton money and time.”

Sales Person:   “I understand how you feel, Mr Prospect.  But don’t be too hard on Acme.  They are a good company as are most in our business.  And years ago, Acme’s widget process was the industry standard.  Then, with the advent of advanced technologies, new modern methods became available.  However, widgets makers have to re-tool completely their entire operation to use the new methods.  It is a tremendous investment.  Acme is doing the best they can with what they have.  My company decided to make the investment and re-tool as we feel it is better to explain a slightly higher price once, than to make excuses for underperforming widgets for years.  Don’t you agree?”

With this approach, you…

  1. Defended the integrity of the competition
  2. Defended the integrity of the industry
  3. Defended the integrity of your company
  4. Became an industry expert, consultant
  5. Raised above the problem
  6. Kept the interaction positive
  7. Relived the prospect’s fears
  8. Restored the prospect’s trust
  9. Raised the value of your product and company
  10. Justified a higher price

And more!

Happy Selling


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 17 August, 2011

Related Articles

Arrow down

Search For More

Arrow down