Is It Ever Appropriate To Publicly Criticize a Competitor? What is the Best Way To Handle the Situation When It Arises?
I believe it is never appropriate to publicly criticize a competitor. It can make both you and the competitor look bad. As a customer, if that happened to me, I would tend to not use the services of either company. Here’s an example of a better way to handle it.
As a Certified Financial Planner in business for many years, I was giving a talk to about 50 people. One person in the audience raised their hand and asked, “I have been working with XYZ company for many years. Why should I switch to you? What can you do better than they can?”
My response: “That is a great question. And thank you for asking. I’m sure there are other people here wondering the same thing. To tell you the truth, at this time I don’t know how I can better help you. There is no way I can stay on top of how every company helps their clients, how they charge, how they run their business and exactly what products and services they offer. And, I would not want to steer you wrong. What I do know is that I have not only 25 years of experience but also keep up to date on strategies to lower taxes, improve performance and help you to meet your goals through my ongoing commitment to 30-50 hours of continuing education each year. Also, our company randomly surveys a sampling of my clients on a regular basis for the clients to rate the work I do for them. Every year I have far exceeded the national averages. I have many clients that have been with me for over 20 years. I believe they would only have stayed with me if I were doing a great job for them. I have been able to help many wonderful people greatly improve on what they have been doing. And I may be able to help you as well. However, as I said, at this time I don’t know.
What I suggest for you is to take advantage of a free consultation. That will give you the opportunity to ask me any questions you may have while allowing me to learn about you, your financial position, goals, and needs. By the end of the appointment, I will tell you if and how am able to improve on what you are currently doing and the cost to work with me. At that point, you can decide if it would be to your advantage to work with or me. Or, if you should stay with what you are currently doing. Is that fair?”
By responding in this way not only am I not putting the other company down but I am also giving the client a reason to meet with me. I believe this is truthful and accurate and far better than putting another company down.