Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, bestselling author, sales leader, and entrepreneur. He posts daily sales tips and insights to The Sales Blog.

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Why You Can’t Negative Sell Against Your Competitor

Negative Energy

To be honest, I forgot how bad a salesperson looks (and sounds) when they negative sell against a specific competitor, particularly the one their prospective client is currently using. Having just experienced it for the first time in a long time, I am reminded of why you don’t sell this way.

The negativity towards a client that you hope creates a compelling reason to change instead does quite the opposite, repelling your dream client away from you, especially if you are argumentative. It also reduces any chance you have of being a trusted advisor.

Congratulations. You’re Small.

It would be difficult to look smaller. By pointing out your competitor’s flaws (or what you perceive to be flaws), you are creating a situation where you look small. You believe that for you to create and win an opportunity, you have to attack your competitor. This makes them look like they are equal—or better—than you. It may also cause your prospective client to feel that they need to defend their partner since you are willing to attack them without them being there to defend themselves.

Negative is Negative

Talking smack about your competitor makes you sound negative. And negative is negative.

The way to undo a competitor is to say positive things about them, and then differentiate yourself in a few areas where you have different beliefs or different approaches. If you were a professional, you would sound like one. If you are petty, childish, and have to go negative, then you are those things.

If you want to be consultative, going negative isn’t going to get you there. If you want to be a trusted advisor, you just made the trust part more difficult, and you offered no advice, no counsel, just sour grapes.

You don’t benefit from doing a direct negative sell against your competitors by attacking them in front of your prospective client. This is poor form, and it means that you don’t have the means to choose a more effective approach. In all things, be professional. More still, be someone that people want to do business with.

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