Dealing with Competitors: What You Need to Know
At QC, we believe competition is a good thing. Your competitors are a reason to offer the best service you possibly can, and to go above and beyond for your clients and customers.
Treat them with respect and your competitors can be your friends! They can refer business your way and hold you to a high standard of excellence!
But many people don’t realize this and instead take a disrespectful and unwarranted approach to their competition. Many businesses will badmouth other companies, discredit their services, and flat out falsify information hoping to score a few more customers out of those tactics.
Today we’re going to focus on a few best practices to use when dealing with your competition.
NEVER badmouth another company
Even if your business is infinitely better than another, you shouldn’t trash another business. Ever.
If someone flat-out asks you what the difference is between your two companies… you should focus on telling them what you do exceptionally well, instead of focusing on what the other company does poorly.
Think about it: when your tactic is to badmouth another company… all you’re really telling the customer is that you’re not as bad as they are. Basically, you might as well chance your business slogan to “We’re not the worst out there!”
Don’t compare competitors on your website
Once in a while I come across a business that lists “comparison charts” on their website where they compare their brand to their top competitors. This makes me cringe!
- It makes you look petty and unprofessional.
- If I wasn’t already aware of your competition, you just put the idea in my head that I should be shopping around.
- I won’t trust your chart. Of course you’ll only list your strong points and none of your competitor’s.
- I’ll look for how you’re bending the truth. Guaranteed there are some lies in there… and even if the chart is 100% true and accurate… I’ll still believe there are lies in it, somewhere.
- If I find a competitor of yours who doesn’t use this shady tactic, I’m going with them simply for that reason!
Now, I hope you are the best at what you do! That’s what we’re all striving for… in any industry. But there’s a way to advertise this without stooping to the competitor comparison.
You can have a strong page on your site that explains “what we do best” or “why choose us”. These types of pages are great because they allow you to boast your strengths (which you should do!) without any of the negative points outlined above.
The exception to the rule
If through your analytics you find that many people visit your site via another brand’s keywords, it might make sense to have a hidden page on your site that ranks well for those keywords. If you use Pay per Click advertising, you can also have targeted ads for those keywords that sends traffic to that specific page.
Note: a “hidden” page means people cannot easily find that page if they’re already on your website. Don’t have a direct link to the page via a header or footer menu, for instance.
HOWEVER… even if you do have one of these competitor pages for web traffic purposes, you should still stick to the above points: don’t badmouth your competition, and don’t directly compare them against your brand. Instead, focus on the features you both offer, or perhaps how your philosophies differ.
In the end, encourage customers to explore both brands and make up their own minds. If your brand really is better… you shouldn’t be afraid of letting the customer decide for himself.
Don’t participate on Social Media debates
If you find conversations on social media or forums where people are debating between your brand and a competitor’s, don’t inject yourself into that conversation for the purpose of selling your brand. Let the conversation flow naturally. If you have a good brand, your followers will speak up on your behalf.
You CAN, however, respond to posts that ask specific questions about your brand or that represent you in a poor light. But do so cautiously. And again, only focus on your brand… not on the competitors at all.
Make them your ally!
Write down your top three or top five competitors, and think about how you can get them on your side. Perhaps you can all create a Facebook group to offer expert advice on a specific topic? Or come up with referral agreements if one of you has too many clients to handle.
At the very least, if you can get together with your competition and agree on a few guidelines on how you’ll portray the other to customers and partners, this can go a long way to a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship.
How to respond
If you find a competitor that mentions your brand in a false and/or dishonest manner, you should contact them privately and respectfully ask them to take down the inaccurate information. Be respectful and don’t pick a fight. If they refuse to comply, then it’s time to get the lawyers involved.
Never retaliate by doing the same thing on your website. Don’t start a public feud, because you might open yourself up to liability. If it comes to getting the lawyers involved (and I hope it doesn’t!), keep your chin up and let the legal hands handle it. That’s what you pay them for!