In front of a prospect or a client, it is looked at differently.
Your prospect / client may very well see things from another perspective, and badmouthing someone doesn’t make you look stronger, it makes you look scared.
I have been told many times that my competitors badmouth us all over town. Every time I hear it, a conversation ensues about how this competitor must be feeling pressure to sell against me. Leaders don’t badmouth.
What you can do to avoid messing up:
1. When comparing your product / service to another, state the differences between the two and explain why yours is better…not why theirs is worse.
2. Remember that sometimes your prospect is already doing business with the other guy. If you tell him that the other guy is terrible, you are insulting his previous buying decision. Your prospect will subconsciously use that against you when he is making a decision.
3. You should know the details of your competition. Ask your clients why they switched from your competitor to you. You will get your ammo there. If your competitor has poor customer service, then you can explain that your customer service department has gotten rave reviews. Explain that some of your clients have recently switched to your company and have found the customer service department to be one of the best reasons to switch.
4. If a client / prospect tells you that your competition is badmouthing you just say that you are above this, and you are sure that their company is a very fine one but that your clients have chosen you because of your reliability, dependability, excellent customer service, etc.
5. Talk to former clients who went to the “Dark Side.” Ask them why they switched. Don’t be condescending or critical of their decision. Don’t be defensive. Listen to the other person talk. Pose the question as an opportunity for you to better service your other accounts. 6 months later when you are trying to win that business back, you can use your rebuttal.
6. Ask the prospect about the competitor. “If there is one thing that my competitor could have done better during your last interaction, what would it have been?” Listen for the answer and later on in the process, differentiate yourself with this.