Directly Attacking Your Competitor Creates Resistance

The weakest choice available when trying to create a compelling reason for your dream client to consider leaving their existing supplier (or partner, as the case may be) is to directly attack your competitor. This approach creates resistance, and you cause your prospective client to defend their existing supplier—and their choice.

You can’t win new clients by competitively displacing your competitors without uncovering the problems and challenges that caused them to consider moving their business to you and your company. You have a list of the areas where your competitors struggle, and it is useful to know what your dream client’s hot buttons are likely to be. A direct assault on your competitor creates resistance, not dissatisfaction.

You say, “I’ve heard that XYZ is having this problem, that problem, and the other problem. I’m wondering if you are having those problems, too.” You’re hoping they say, “Why, yes, I am having those problems. Where do I sign?” That, however, is not what you hear. Instead, you hear, “No. I am not having those problems.”

By recounting your competitor’s many sins, you cause your dream client to defend them from your attack. Who was the person that chose to work with this company you have described as inept? Who is still working with this very same company?

You don’t move people to change by causing them to resist and defend their prior decision.

The better choice is to speak well of your competitor, speak well of the people who work there, talk about the differences in your models, and share how some of the choices the alternatives in your industry make it difficult for them to produce the results you generate.

By speaking well of your competitor, you eliminate the need for your dream client to defend them. When they don’t need to mount a defense, they’re more open to sharing with you what might compel them to change.

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