While running through your product’s features, it is only natural that your potential customer will have objections. They might ask whether you have a competitor and how your product or service compares. Regardless of how experienced you are, it’s super easy to fall into the trash talking trap. After all, your marketing team has made certain you not only understand the details of your own offering, but also the limitations of those offered by your competitors.
For those of you who are fairly new to the profession, don’t fall into the trap! Trash talking can be as much of a CLE (Career Limiting Event) as too many cocktails at the company holiday party. Why?
Speaking Negatively About Your Competitor Moves Your Customer to a Negative Mindset
As you are working to build rapport and establish yourself as a trusted advisor to your potential customer, the last thing you want to do is go from helpful to hurtful. By focusing on all the positive ways your product can be their solution, you are helping them visualize a fruitful partnership that will also benefit your customer’s position within their company. They aren’t just buying your product, they are also buying you. Business is always personal.
If you are trash talking someone else’s company and/or offering, your customer could assume that this behavior is your modus operandi and that you speak about everything in a gossipy manner. Additionally, if you’re talking about a solution that your prospect already has invested in, you run the risk of insulting your prospect’s procurement IQ.
Criticizing Other Products Puts You In the Position of Defending Your Product
By throwing out negative aspects of a rival product, you may actually be inviting criticism that’s directed at your offering – and creating sales objections that could limit you from closing a sale. It’s very likely you know the competitive landscape better than your customer.
For instance, if you have a groundbreaking offering that forges a whole new direction and you point out that no competitor’s offering works the way yours does, the customer will likely question if your approach is really necessary at all.
Also, when you start bringing up product and services issues and limitations they haven’t considered, you could be undermining their confidence in selecting any offering – including yours. Which will send your deal back to the early consideration phase, rather than closer to a close.
Blowback Can Unnecessarily Create Negative Social Capital Within Your Industry.
In these times of short employment stints and unexpected mergers, your social capital is essential to your long-term sales success. If a potential customer shares your trash talk with a competitor, that competitor may develop a negative perception of you and might assume you are not to be trusted.
Today’s competitor could be tomorrow’s customer, co-worker, maybe even the unthinkable – your boss. Jobs may not last, but relationships do. Starting relationships on a positive note can help you not only close your current deal, but deals for years to come.
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