If you’ve been in business for more than a few years, it is possible that you’ve encountered someone ‘bad mouthing’ you or your business. This happened to me and it was quite shocking at the time.
Sadly for my ‘bad mouther’ it did her no favours. Even if there had been any truth to her statements, her actions said far more about her ethics and attitude than it did about the (false) statements about my business.
It is quite interesting to have observed from afar a number of other business relationships (and even friendships) that have fallen apart due to this person’s dealings.
Interestingly for me, since that incident (the one that I knew of anyway!), I have had many occasions where I could have chosen to speak negatively about her business. I regularly have clients who ask ‘why does XYZ company do that? It seems unethical to me’, in relation to an opposing policy we have.
I have to choose my words carefully each time, ensuring that I sound as diplomatic as possible.
So why wouldn’t I take this opportunity to bad mouth my competitor? Especially seeing that it’s my client who has raised the issue, not me?
Aside from my personal resolution to speak kindly about others, I believe I can achieve my goals without ‘trash talking’ the competition.
I have many happy clients who haven’t come to me because I’ve told them how good I am or how much better I am compared to my competitor. I let my work and my actions with them speak for themselves.
Bad mouthing your competitors can come out of frustration; you believe you genuinely have a better product or service, but it can be hard to convey that without making negative comments about your competitor.
But remember: your customers are looking for reasons to engage with you, not reasons why not to engage with someone else!
Your comments, even if they are well-meaning or out of concern for your customer’s welfare, can become counter-productive and undermine you.