Take Caution When Slamming the Competiton2 Oct, 2006 By: Matt Urquhart imageSource
Take Caution When Slamming the Competiton
"That 123M application doesn’t really work well, does it?"
"I can’t understand why they would have sold you this when it really wasn’t
"This is certainly an interesting configuration!"
It appears that passive-aggressive negativity is alive and well.
Unfortunately, this happens too often in our industry as well as almost every
other profession on the planet. It happens more then I would care to imagine
and yet, many of us have probably participated in some form of slamming of our
competitiors during our sales careers.
Often, slamming begins early in ones sales career due to a lack of knowledge
and inexperience. Typically, a salesperson may overcompensate due to fear of
losing a sale, readily putting down the competition their up against. So, does
this method of selling really work? Does it actually hurt the company being
slammed or does it hurt you instead?
What Goes Around Comes Around
In my experience, more than diminishing the company being slammed, negative
sales techniques actually hurt the sales rep and the company he or she
represents. By slamming a competitor you are bringing that very same company to
the table during your own sales time or "window" with your customer. This
timeframe would be better spent on sharing information such as your own
company’s products and benefits to that particular customer’s needs. It does not
matter if the sales call is a live face-to-face meeting or over a telesales
phone call. By blackening the waters of the sales cycle by slamming your
competitors, you are tarnishing the reputation and credibility of your company
Using derogatory statements towards other companies in your industry shows a
lack of integrity and puts you in a negative light, sending a poor signal to
your clients regardless of the fact that a client may joke or play along with
you at the moment.
I have confirmed this by speaking to a few copier dealer customers. They’ve
admitted that at one time or another, they had to listen to an obnoxious sales
reps slam his competitor. Even if the client first makes negative comments on a
recent blunder by "company A," it is not an open opportunity for the
inexperienced sales rep to jump right in, adding extra fuel to the fire with
their own rash of slamming. This is just venting, and what the client really
wants is just a sympathic ear. After getting it out of their system, the client
will most likely continue using or purchasing a good percentage of that
competitor’s business. And, as human nature indicates, your comments will often
be relayed back to company A, instigating a price war or level of discontent.
Personally, there have been opportunities for me to instigate slamming in
order to manipulate a sale, but I have managed to keep to higher ground even
when that little voice inside suggested otherwise. Fortunately, I bit my tongue
and focused on my products and services.
For more than 14 years I have had the challenge and pleasure to go head-
to-head with top sales managers in the aftermarket industry. Many of these
professionals are still in the industry today; still top producers though not
all are with the same companies. Good first impressions led to longlasting
business partners and friendships. The foundation was built on professionalism,
which leaves no room for irresponsible slamming. If a sales professional at TSC
Imaging was confirmed as slamming a competitor, I would first set him/her
straight with a verbal warning. Future complaints could lead to their
If you are in charge of a sales team, stop and look at your business and your
top-level producers working for you. I am betting that these sales professionals
never SLAM - they SELL. Watch them and learn from them, knowing this business
compares to life in "what goes around comes around." When focusing on our
strengths, no single competitor can stop our success.