Customer Experience News & Trends

When you catch the competition lying: 5 appropriate responses

What used to be a last resort for struggling salespeople is happening too often in today’s competitive marketplace: competitors blatantly misrepresenting the capabilities of their products or, worst of all, making false comments about your products or services.

What to do

So what do you do when your competition is distorting the truth and your customer seems to be falling for the pitch? The worst possible response is to engage in a tit-for-tat battle.

These are the best responses:

  • Listen carefully when customers tell you about information they have learned from a competitor. Resist giving an immediate response. Don’t assume the customer believes everything a competitor has said. Some customers may be looking for your reaction. Others may be looking for a negotiation advantage.
  • Take the high road. If your competition has to resort to twisting your words and misrepresenting your capabilities to get the customer’s attention, that’s a sure sign that you’re doing something right. The minute you start badmouthing the competitor is the minute you begin to associate yourself with them and their unethical behavior. Listen carefully to any false claims made by a competitor, then respond to them in a detailed, professional way in front of customers.
  • Focus on your strengths. Always be ready to answer the question, “Why should we buy from you over everyone else?” If you can be crystal clear in your answer, you won’t have to worry about any backbiting from unethical competitors. Once your customers understand your unique strengths and capabilities, they usually won’t be influenced by any competitors.
  • Change the conversation to the experience the customer has had with you. Encourage him or her to look closely at the track record you have already established. If you’re talking to a prospect, tell them about your successes partnering with other customers successfully and implementing solutions. Try to cite examples of key obstacles that prospects failed to anticipate that you were able to solve for them.
  • Don’t give up, even if you lose the customer. Sometimes you do things the right way and the customer still goes with the competitor. Don’t feel you have lost him or her forever, especially if the customer left because the competitor wasn’t entirely truthful. Customers will realize they made a mistake over a period of time. Don’t make them feel they have to come back with their tail between their legs. Continue to stay in touch, and you will make the transition that much easier.

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