Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing tips & ideas to help you grow your business, by Jim Connolly

The truth about badmouthing your competitors!

There are 2 routes, which we can take in order to improve how highly we rank as a provider within our marketplace:

  1. badmouth competitors, badmouthing competitorsInvest in our development, strive to continuously improve and learn to be of as much value as possible. (Highly effective)
  2. Invest our time bad-mouthing our competitors and belittling their work. (Ineffective and self-defeating.)

The first option is all about growth, contribution and longevity. The second option is all about hate, venom and short-term thinking.

Before you tell someone that one of your competitors is an idiot, be aware that they may think you are just saying it in order to make yourself look good. If they do, you will lose their respect and any chance of doing business with them.

You gain nothing by slamming your competitors. In fact, by attacking them, you will almost certainly hurt your own business far more than theirs.

Photo: meknits

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28 Comments

  1. okay wait. I can’t read you blog post if my eyes won’t leave the photo. Not fair! I can’t even remember the title?

  2. I agree Jim. Those who want to win concentrate on their own business and achieving their goals. Those destined to lose concentrate too much comparing themselves to what the competition is doing or bitching about them. Focus on your own business and making that everything it could be.

  3. Read the post. Loved it! linked over to the post I missed back in May about the castle story. Loved it too. Back to this post, one quote kept coming to my mind; “Kind words draw friends near”.
    I’ve found that I learn so much from my competitors, wouldn’t think of bad mouthing. Does this jog your memory of the Miracle on 34th Street marketing scenario and how the recommendation to shop at the competitor store actually brought more business back. It’s just good business to be nice.

  4. Anthony Bynoe

    August 3, 2011 at 21:49

    Hating on others says more about you than it does about the competition.

  5. I saw a case of this recently on Twitter Jim It made me chuckle as I saw one account handle things nicely, whilst the other flapped their atms around accusing the other of copying their work.

    I can tell you, that person lost credibility after that poor show.

    • I often wonder if people are aware of just how bad it looks, when they attack competitors like that. Even if they are in the right, that kind of open attack can seriously backfire on them.

  6. Agree in principle. But what do you do if a competitor is working with your client on something else and you know for a fact it’s shoddy, ineffective work – but your client can’t see that. You’ve got to tell your client, right? It’s your duty.

    • Crossed wires, Michael.

      The post is about bitching to the marketplace about your competitors, NOT providing professional advice to your clients.

      We have a duty to our clients to provide the best advice we can and look after their interests. Providing you don’t gloat on the ineffectiveness of a competitor and remain professional and client-focused, there’s little risk in guiding a client away from making a mistake.

      Hope that’s clearer.

  7. In a previous business a competitors sales team continually bad mouthed us to our customers, in particular stating that we would favour one key customer with new technology. Many of our customers questioned us about this but also accepted our responses and proof that this was not the case.
    In return our sales team did the opposite and stated that the competitor was capable and respected and that we would not bad mouth them. This situation gave our business the opportunity to discuss and reinforce our integrity with our customers. Plus our competitors associated themselves with negativity and less than desirable behaviour.
    It was definitely a win for us based on our competitors own goal!

  8. Great post, Jim. We believe in NEVER bad mouthing a competitor. With that belief, it is so funny, that as a consumer, when I go to purchase something, I will not buy from a company if they bad mouth a competitor. For some reason, I think business owners just don’t get it. They would rather waste the time bad mouthing a competitor, then building value in there own product or service.

    Thanks again.

  9. Talk about bad karma… That’s all competition-slamming promotes. To be honest, I wouldn’t want to work with anyone who would LISTEN to me bad-mouth a competitor. It’s much better form to be humble, but fair. Competitive, but positive. It’s better for business, and better for the soul. Thanks for all you do, Jim.

    • It’s hard to see anything positive about slamming your competitors, which makes the fact that some people do it, even more incredible. Thanks for the feedback, Brett.

  10. I agree, talking negatively about competitors says more about the type of person you are then what you are trying to say about them.

  11. Thank you for this straight-forward, common sense post! Nothing wrong with a little competition, but bad-mouthing is not necessary. I actually am in talks with a potential client because a competitor bad-mouthed me and the client decided to go with me because of the negative comments that person said.

  12. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Read the post. Those who want to win concentrate on their own business and achieving their goals.

  13. This has always been my view, however I did talk about the way a competitor did business that I personally did not agree with how they did business. Starting to regret how it all went down. Not sure to give it space or sincerely apologize because that’s never how I have done business.

  14. I agree with you, I think that there are many ways to deal with competition and bad mouthing is not one of them. I believe that companies need competition to stay up to date and striving in their markets. I do not believe that any company, that is not a monopoly would be successful if it did not innovate and learn from it’s competition.

    ~Phillip Izon II

  15. How do you handle a competitor you’ve never met but they lie about having a meeting with you to a possible client. The lie they told was documented in meeting minutes (which is how I found out about it).

    They told several people in that meeting that they met with us and we told them that we refused to work with the client on a big project. This paved the way for our competitor to make lots of money on their own since there was no competition.

    We did approach the director and her response was that there was obviously a misunderstanding. I responded back that there was only lies and I just wanted them to know the truth.

    Otherwise I don’t know this guy…..

  16. I most definitely agree with what you are saying here. It is never good to bad mouth a competitor. However, what do you do when you are being bad mouthed by a competitor? I assume the answer is try to rise above it. Difficult task indeed. This game plays out all the time in politics, and most often both of the parties are bad mouthing one another. I think it’s the same in business. Part of the plan should be to highlight your competitor’s weaknesses, but in a way that comes off as professional.

  17. Jim,

    I agree that if you are able to avoid making rude comments about your potential competitors, you will either gain or keep the respect of the individuals that may turn away if rude comments are made. I think that your approach is wise, and should be considered when targeting particular consumers.

    jkhall

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