Bashing competitors the Right way - any tips?

37 replies
Hi -

I realize it's not completely professional to say negative things (in general terms) about competitors; I like to highlight benefits while also mentioning competitive strengths my company has compared to others, to differentiate.

I may speak out too strongly against my competitors in my industry. Is there a better way to politely, correctly educate customers about the bad things that competitors do, without coming across as bashing them too much, or too much self-promotion? I need to tone it down a bit, I think, at least to come across as more professional.

I believe what I say, but I'd appreciate any tips or insights on how to highlight competitors' weaknesses and personal strengths, in a more compelling, professional take-the-high-road approach?

my industry, trading, is rife with bs-ers, and I think it's important for customers to know about the bs vs proof elements to ask for, other critical things before buying from anyone.


thx,

ken
#bashing #competitors #tips
  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    Forget about bashing others and just make your own business as good as it can be.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    I don't deal with your industry but I can tell you as a customer what affects me.

    If I see a table that lists benefit comparisons of various services or products I often find that ompelling. If your service has more checkmarks than the other guy it might get my attention in a positive way.

    However, when I visit a site or sales page that denigrates a competing product or service in the content, it's a total turnoff for me. It often comes across as petty. Makes me wonder if your product is so good - why are you wasting space putting down the competition.

    I also notice this "they aren't as good as we are" tone in emails from some marketers - and to me it's an unsubscribe when that happens.

    kay
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  • Profile picture of the author tpw
    Personally, I don't like comparing myself directly to others. I prefer putting my best foot forward, and letting the reader compare my stuff with the competitors they envision in their minds.

    If you are going to name the competitor, do a feature- or benefit-comparison chart to show how you would be better than them.

    Otherwise, just talk about the terrible things that generic, unnamed competitors do.

    Just like in the WSO sub-forum... If you don't like the product, bash the product, not the person who created it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Scott Ames
    Without pointing out specific competitors, you could say " Some do this... or that... and that's ok, but what we do is... which is better"
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Why not partner with them?
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    • Profile picture of the author newpage
      The right way would be to bash them based on the features and benefits your product or service provides compared to theirs. In this way you can state the facts and educate people at the same time.

      Create a side by side comparison page and also get testimonials, if you can, to backup the satisfaction of your current customers.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aura
    Originally Posted by kencalhn View Post

    Hi -

    I realize it's not completely professional to say negative things (in general terms) about competitors; I like to highlight benefits while also mentioning competitive strengths my company has compared to others, to differentiate.

    I may speak out too strongly against my competitors in my industry. Is there a better way to politely, correctly educate customers about the bad things that competitors do, without coming across as bashing them too much, or too much self-promotion? I need to tone it down a bit, I think, at least to come across as more professional.

    I believe what I say, but I'd appreciate any tips or insights on how to highlight competitors' weaknesses and personal strengths, in a more compelling, professional take-the-high-road approach?

    my industry, trading, is rife with bs-ers, and I think it's important for customers to know about the bs vs proof elements to ask for, other critical things before buying from anyone.


    thx,

    ken
    Here's how you shine when you try to emphasize it to the customers that you got an edge over others:

    1. NEVER, and remember, NEVER name any of your competitors. Be it local small timers or big companies. Doesn't matter what your status is, targeting a competitor way too explicitly would make the customers reach them out, and your competitor would leave a even worse impression of yours on your potential customers. Don't do it unless they name it, like
    "Hey, I see you not offering this/you offering this for a higher price, XYZ.inc is offering this for less. What's the gimmick?"
    Only then you can bash the competitor, that too politely and explain that for a high price you're offering a better commodity or it's more High Quality.

    2. Never compare you with your competitors as a word of mouth. Use illustrations, be it banners or pamphlets (Flyers as you guys say), with good pictures, tables and make sure every potential customer of yours get exposed to it.
    Be it via your website, at your office , through promo flyers you spread around or anything else.

    That sure will capture their attention, and they wouldn't even go further and look at the competitors. Make sure you use real stats though.
    Now it's up to you, as per your business you gotta' be creative and generate that stuff.

    3. ALWAYS be polite and offer amazing post-sales and pre-sales support. They maybe wouldn't buy from you. But help them every way they need, they'd consider you more as a mentor than a seller.
    While others would be keen selling their stuff, you'd be more into mentoring them which would attract more customers, through your existing ones.

    I hope this helped
    If you need more tips, just hit me up.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Keith
    All i saw when i read this was a product opportunity. maybe a good free lead generating product. "how to identify the bs trading advisory services" or something like that...you get the idea.

    Then you could educate them to evaluate and identify the wheat from the chaff the way you are able to...with an expert view of things.
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  • Profile picture of the author kencalhn
    good ideas; thanks... agree matrix/check boxes can be effective, which is more objective-looking; plus testimonials highlighting what they like best about us vs competitors; probably helpful as well. I note that the best authors/industry leaders never put down others, they just focus on what they do best, and come across as genuinely helpful, without any mention of competitors' weaknesses.

    me I'm much more like the "where's the beef?" commercials, where I ask customers to compare and tell them what to look for, when comparing, I should tone that down I guess.

    Personally I like it when people I buy from tell me about benefits as well as 'what to watch out for, before buying from competitors", so i can make a more critical, informed decision.. like seeing a lot of 2-star reviews in Amazon will have me looking for competitors to buy from, with better ratings, and reading the comments helps. Or for example tell me why Your wordpress plugin is better than the other competitors' one, and yes I'd like to know what features are missing from your competitors, that's helpful.

    best-foot forward and let them decide themselves is best I realize, it's just hard to resist the temptation to highlight the glaring weaknesses in competitors' offerings; I guess it's all about discipline.

    -k

    p.s. examples may be helpful. I'm in the trading industry, rife with bs-ers. I say things like:

    "before buying any trading education product, make sure the person you're buying from can prove they're actual traders, with P&L screencap proof, over years like I show, that they're real traders" (most don't even trade, they're just shovel sellers)

    "don't buy stupid Forex robot software or magic red-arrow green-arrow software, it doesn't work" (I've never seen any trading signal software work consistently, it's a crutch that doesn't work)

    and similar. I have thousands of customers and am well known and published in my industry; my competitors aren't. fact: I started my business back in the 90s because I found out that most vendors' offerings were bs. so I shared my actual lessons learned from real experience, and it is very popular. so I honestly believe in everything I say, of course... it's the truth... it's just a lot of customers don't know what to look for, the "tough questions to ask" before buying, so I try and highlight that, both as a competitive differentiator and as something that can help save them from wasting money on bs.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kay King
      The problem is that even though the glaring weaknesses of competitors may be true - when you (as a competitor) point them out it doesn't work well.

      You can say "unlike other products available" or "superior to other services that are widely advertised" or "compare our features with similar products" and come across as professional. It's a fine line. When you get specific it sort of crosses the line for some readers.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Ken, I think that the only thing you might want to change is a few words here and there. Take your examples...

      Originally Posted by kencalhn View Post

      "before buying any trading education product, make sure the person you're buying from can prove they're actual traders, with P&L screencap proof, over years like I show, that they're real traders" (most don't even trade, they're just shovel sellers)
      Here, the words "shovel sellers" strike me as a bit much.

      "Before buying any trading education product, check the track record of the person you're buying from. I pull back the curtain and show you actual screen captures of my P&L. Like many fields, ours attracts those whose only experience is trading your dollars for their products."

      Originally Posted by kencalhn View Post

      "don't buy stupid Forex robot software or magic red-arrow green-arrow software, it doesn't work" (I've never seen any trading signal software work consistently, it's a crutch that doesn't work)
      Here, it's the word "stupid" that catches my eye. "Magic" too.

      "Don't buy automated robot software or red-arrow, green-arrow instant analysis programs. They have two problems - one, most never work and two, if they do work (which I've never seen), too many people getting the same signals ruins the advantage."

      Back in the early 1970s, there was a best selling book on using a formula to trade stocks that came with some pretty compelling proof. That book disappeared when a well-known expert showed that by changing the beginning of the proof period by one cycle either earlier or later, the same picks and trades showed a loss.

      I'm guessing that what you do is similar to what I did when I studied horse handicapping - it's easy to show excellent results by cherry-picking the data set used to "demonstrate" the system.
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  • Profile picture of the author Aura
    I suggest you type out some support docs and stuff and offer them as freebies to people who're looking into your line of business.
    Then you advertise yourself as an amazing option. The same trick everyone uses, works for everyone.
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  • Profile picture of the author WeavingThoughts
    Don't try to put down specific companies.
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  • Profile picture of the author kencalhn
    and right, I never mention competitors by name, it's more "general things to watch out for" in terms of either misleading things many people in my industry do, or weaknesses, missing ingredients in their offerings, fatal flaws of things that you should look out for before buying
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew D
    Bashing opponent directly will get you bad name, but if you have power, you can do that, just like IMDB PRO. But at least, when you don't have the power, you can learn "bashing" your competitor by slightly comparing your various service and features that your competitor don't have. But remember to not give an explicit design / logo of your competitor just like what IMDB did to their copy ads for premium membership.
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  • Profile picture of the author Devin X
    Banned
    Originally Posted by kencalhn View Post

    My industry, trading, is rife with bs-ers, and I think it's important for customers to know about the bs vs proof elements to ask for, other critical things before buying from anyone.
    Ain't that the truth. You can call other people/companies out on their own BS and be just fine. Just make sure that you're 1) right about what you're saying, and 2) not using profanity or anything else that makes you seem unprofessional. You know what I'm saying?

    You'll also have to be prepared for the reciprocation. The competition will see what you're doing and they'll retaliate. Think about RAP "beefs" and how they go back and forth. Same thing in essence.

    You can also do a comparison in a chart or something. Show your prospects that you do A-Z while the other guys only do ABC. You know what I'm saying?
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  • Profile picture of the author kmcvay
    For about 4 years, I built up a solid and profitable list simply by telling subscribers what I was doing to try and generate income. Before cancer demanded all of my attention, income from the list was about $10K a month. One of the things I did consistently was tell people exactly what I thought of the tools/systems/promoters I worked with. If I purchased a networked recruiting system, I told my readers exactly what level of service I received, what it cost me, and how well it functioned. If it went bump, as things sometimes did, I explained that, too. I named names and warned readers to avoid certain systems/products like the plague.

    It was a very effective list and income builder, and I still follow the same model, now that the cancer is under control and I have time to devote to generating income again.

    My recent review of a specific cloud backup system, which can be found on my blog, ripped the company and its service apart, and it's drawing more traffic than all the other reviews combined.

    Bottom line: I think it's fine to knock the competition, as long as you are scupulously honest about it, and avoid being abusive. Honesty in internet marketing is a rare commodity these days, and "telling it like it is" without all the hype commonly seen here in the WSO forum is something I think people appreciate.
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  • Profile picture of the author beatmeback
    That questions was always interesting for me, Once we made some seo with tools we can get down, so this should work against competitors too.
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  • Profile picture of the author george b
    If I ever find a product free or bought in my niche, and I don't think its worth the time or money downloading or using, I will tell my list.

    And they LOVE that! It builds their confidence in me.

    Because then the next day I will inform them of a superb product that is is worth their time and money.

    I never slate them though, I will always give an honest review that points out why I wouldn't recommend it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Stewart
    Actually, it also comes down to what you're comparing. There are a lot of things that can be compared. Price, products, brands, quality, customer service, shipping time, shipping costs, shipping companies and on and on.

    I never try to talk badly about a competitor, BUT if I know for a fact that other companies are selling the same product that I'm selling for a lot more money I WILL point it out and leverage it to my advantage. It would be dumb not to because in many cases it will instantly close the sale for me.

    As far as shipping costs go, I'll tell them the BEST way to buy things that will save them the most money, but I'll also let them know that I have other options available as well. That way if they're ever unhappy with shipping charges they can't gripe at me. By the way, I'm mentioning shipping because that can be an issue on certain items in my offline biz.

    What I will NEVER do (and neither should anyone else) is call someone's integrity out by name. That not only looks bad, but could also get you in hot water. Just use comparisons of you vs "your competition" on certain things where you KNOW you have a clear advantage and can back it up.

    Always remain professional when conducting business.
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  • Profile picture of the author kencalhn
    right -- it's important to be an advocate for your customers, while never making comments about specific individuals or companies; agree... it's helpful to build loyalty with those kinds of points, about cost and quality differences in general, plus credibility and customer testimonials. the key is, doing it gracefully and in a compelling, high integrity way.
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  • Profile picture of the author jenmidas
    Why basing them? Why not JV
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  • Profile picture of the author TheSalesBooster
    Here's a million dollar tip for you...

    Don't say it as if you were saying it, but let your customers say it for you in a testimonial
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    • Profile picture of the author WayneT
      I really don't know how much you know about selling but if your in "Trading" and you have time to bash your oppo then your not in the market for long.
      've been trading derivateves, bonds, Gold, silver sdince I was a kid....it's easy.
      I trade for myself and a select group, I have people lining up around the block to give me 50,000 or so.....They're desperados.

      NEVER....NEVER....NEVER.... bash your competitors.
      Learn the 4 levels of learning and then its what you know.

      If you KNOW what your talking your client either in person or online won't be thinking about anyone else.....

      The old "If I....Will you"
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  • Profile picture of the author Giovanni Puma
    ahh man... you would just say listen some of our competitors do this... ( say what they do) then go through the emotion and say hey but we do this '' ''' even bettter.... more powerful... simple... fast instant.. you get the point yeah? need any more help or tips just reply back
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  • Profile picture of the author absolutelee
    Bashing competitors just makes you look bad. Don't bash! Build solid relationships with your competitors! The whole concept of bashing is based in limited thinking. You think the pie has a fixed size, and that if your competitor gets a bigger slice that part of that is taken away from you. Like I said...that's very limited thinking! And, it's absolutely not true online. I would turn this whole train of thought around and ask myself...how can I help my competitors make more money?
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      There is already a certain hostile suspicion by consumers within some high profile niches (IM, stock market/commodities traders, insurance, etc to name a few). You really are not going to endear prospects to your product or service by bashing others who are reflexively perceived to be in the same class as your offer.

      For example, as an active trader myself, my bs meter rises to high defense alert status when some schmuck tries to tell me how much better he is over the "competition". It almost always takes just a few pointed questions to dismiss such annoyances.

      What I would suggest is to demonstrate your expertise through explaining the underlying factors of fluctuating prices, and showing specific results regarding profitable entry/exit points in the market. Now that would be far more impressive than denigrating the competition.
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      • Profile picture of the author squidface
        Banned
        Originally Posted by myob View Post

        There is already a certain hostile suspicion by consumers within some high profile niches (IM, stock market/commodities traders, insurance, etc to name a few). You really are not going to endear prospects to your product or service by bashing others who are reflexively perceived to be in the same class as your offer.

        For example, as an active trader myself, my bs meter rises to high defense alert status when some schmuck tries to tell me how much better he is over the "competition". It almost always takes just a few pointed questions to dismiss such annoyances.

        What I would suggest is to demonstrate your expertise through explaining the underlying factors of fluctuating prices, and showing specific results regarding profitable entry/exit points in the market. Now that would be far more impressive than denigrating the competition.
        Always easy to spot

        1) Secret/limited offer/time is used often

        2) EASY...WORKS ALL THE TIME, ETC

        3) HIGH REWARDS WITH NO OR VERY LITTLE RISK. (Huge rewards means big risks with the right system/method/time)

        4) SOME AUTO TRADING ROBOTS/BLACK BOXES DO WORK SO DON'T PAINT EVERYONE THE SAME.

        5) IF TYPICAL I.M. SALES PAGE (big red headline, 20+ bonuses, $worth $3,000 but offering today only for $100) You know the typical sales stuff. RUN.

        6) Proof is 100% in the results. Nothing else matters.

        Having said all this it's a double edged sword. Most of the public/retail investors expect far too much without understanding trading or risk. They want to make 200%+ per year but don't understand or are willing to take those risks. They want to jump into trading, become a master in 24 hours all from a $100 e-book then go screaming scam when they lose some money. Strange but true.if an I.Q. test was required before trading I guess the stock market would collapse. And I include many institutions in that as well.

        It's the same with I.M'ing or any other business offered online. Most people expect far too much and lack the effort. University courses cost 100X more and take upto 4 years to learn but online everything has to be reduced 100 fold and expect better results.

        SCREW that for a game of soldiers.
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  • Profile picture of the author squidface
    Banned
    Unbelievable....only on the net is this crap common.

    How about

    "if you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all."

    **** trolls spend all day spreading B*S* on the net all day. Get a life.
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  • Profile picture of the author squidface
    Banned
    is the O.P. Ken Calhoun?


    Gee, I expected much better professionalism from this person. Here we are discussing this.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tony Fairminer
    Hi
    Why not conduct a survey of your existing customers asking them to tell you about their bad experiences with your competitors.? You could offer some sort of small bonus as an incentive to complete the survey.
    When you get the results edit out the competitors names and the bad language then publish it in it's entirety, even if they say some good things about the competitors.
    when you have published it Email a link to all those that took part so they can see what was published and ask them to pass it on to their friends.

    Tony
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  • Profile picture of the author seobro
    Politicians use negative campaigns. It seems to work for em. Vote for me... The other guy is worse.
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  • Profile picture of the author sethczerepak
    Originally Posted by kencalhn View Post

    Hi -

    I realize it's not completely professional to say negative things (in general terms) about competitors; I like to highlight benefits while also mentioning competitive strengths my company has compared to others, to differentiate.

    I may speak out too strongly against my competitors in my industry. Is there a better way to politely, correctly educate customers about the bad things that competitors do, without coming across as bashing them too much, or too much self-promotion? I need to tone it down a bit, I think, at least to come across as more professional.

    I believe what I say, but I'd appreciate any tips or insights on how to highlight competitors' weaknesses and personal strengths, in a more compelling, professional take-the-high-road approach?

    my industry, trading, is rife with bs-ers, and I think it's important for customers to know about the bs vs proof elements to ask for, other critical things before buying from anyone.


    thx,

    ken
    The trick is to do it without sounding insecure and afraid of the competition.

    Do it as a consumer advocate. Someone who hates to see your buyers led down dead end roads.

    Attack the things that your customers also hate, and use the competitor's strengths against them. I've done this in the most sophisticated markets and in front of audiences with high level people. Works like a charm.

    There's a three sentence formula in this video that's really effective...


    The other option is with humor. You have to be really good to do this, but if you pull it off, it's instant rapport.


    And of course, there's the master of attacking the competition, Dan Kennedy:

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  • Profile picture of the author samboydston
    I notice that going negative just makes me feel worse, which I know negatively affects my health. This is really how people make themselves sick. I am doing the Millionaire Yoga program from Dr. Baskaran Pillai, as well as the Forgiveness Prayers from Howard Wills. Dr. Pillai recommends TOTAL positivity. This works not only in business, but also in interpersonal relationships. I mean, lookit. Do YOU enjoy hearing people complain? Do you think other people enjoy hearing YOU complain? If I have pain in my body, it's not going to help much to simply complain. It has to be addressed with the intention of moving towards a SOLUTION.
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  • Profile picture of the author DeanSoto
    My business partner does this very well. Basically, rather than bash your competitor you should compliment them. Sounds backwards but there is a method to the madness.

    Let your customers know what your competitors are good at and explain their business model. Then show where your service or product is different and how that difference is what your customer needs. For example, if you competitor makes sales funnels for their customers to install themselves, explain how that's awesome and all but your service installs everything and provides A/B testing for 30 days to optimize the funnel so that your customer knows they are getting a great value.
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  • Profile picture of the author JensSteyaert
    Let the customers review the products, and focus on improving your business so you get good feedback.

    That's the only advice i can give you...
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  • Profile picture of the author Tim Franklin
    Yes, just put up a sign that says, we fix $5.00 hair cuts, LOL,

    There are a lot of products and services out there that just do not provide the kind of value that they should. There was a recent rash of products concerning security, I looked them over and the products were not valid, they did very little to actually secure a website.

    Now you could go out and bash them but some of these people actually believe that they have a good product when the truth is they don't know squat about security they outsourced the product creation to someone that also knows little about securing a Linux server.

    The bad thing here is that there are now hundreds of people out there that think they have a secured website when they really are just bait waiting for someone to come along and scuttle all their hard work.

    I hate to see a situation like this but I tend to agree with most of the opinions here about how bashing is just not the best way to present your product to a potential customer.

    The best way is to just show them.
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