Have you ever spoken down about your competitors? It’s such an easy practice to get into if you are desperate for work, but I have found that it doesn’t provide positive results to your business.
I remember my days as a telemarketer for a transport company (approx 10 years ago), where it was my job to make business appointments for our Area Sales Managers. I always loved the calls made to potential clients who were disgruntled with their current service provider because it would mean I could make an easy appointment for a rep.
There was a fine line though in approaching such potential customers to ensure that I didn’t bag their current provider. I learned over time that, while I could be loyal to my employer and shout to the rooftops that we were the best service provider in the transport industry, I knew that we could damage or mishandle freight as much as the next transport company and that we weren’t perfect.
Credibility is so important in any business and your credibility can be shot down the moment you bag a competitor no matter how terrible their service is. The best way to attack sales and marketing to attract new business is to sell your strengths. You will find that your strengths are what keep a loyal customer base.
Our plumbing business, Jacol Plumbing, had a reputation in the commercial world as being a reliable plumbing service provider (we still do). There were certain buildings in the Brisbane CBD that Jacol was on the preferred list of plumbing contractors and certain hydraulic consultants would have a preference for Jacol to quote on their work. This type of credibility was built over time by my dad Col Jones. He always went the extra mile and even now, we still have commercial clients who refuse to give their work to anyone else no matter the price. The reason? My dad was a great communicator, he always ensured that our paperwork was submitted on time and that Council Approval was organized and warranty manuals provided at the end of each job. He also ensured each job was finished to the set time frame.
If we were slightly dearer on a job, we would highlight these strengths. Sometimes it would win us the job, sometimes it wouldn’t.
But the best way for a business to learn which service providers are the best and worst is to experience the service themself. This way, you don’t have to steep low and criticize a competitor, potentially harming your credibility if they miraculously provide a great service. And in the moment that they do fail to provide, you will be considered more highly of on the next tender.
Credibility needs to be protected, you can’t build yourself up by tearing others down.
Proverbs 10:18 He who conceals hatred has lying lips, and he who spreads slander is a fool.