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Vendors Who Slam Their Competition Don’t Win My Business

I have a friend who is a nationally-touring comedian. He told me about a situation with a comedy club he was booked at, where an unknown comedian phoned the owner, criticizing my friend being booked. Because, as the competing comedian stated, “he’s not as funny as I am.”

The comedy club owner did what I do in those situations. He hung up on the competing comedian and kept the booking with my friend.

This happened for two reasons:

First, the competing comedian was obviously an unknown who didn’t have any references nor had the owner heard of him.

Second, the competing comedian had the audacity to basically criticize the comedy club owner’s choice in who to hire to appear at the club.

It’s a case of “the devil you know” winning out over the devil you don’t.

This happens regardless of what industry you work in. Too often, sales staffs think that the best way to win your business is to slam your involvement with another vendor.

What exactly is that competitor saying about your organization’s decision-making or evaluation skills? Essentially, they are blatant in their criticism not only of the vendor, but of your organization, and of you, for selecting that vendor in the first place.

I hold to the “devil you know” principle: I may have certain issues with a vendor, but I know what I can expect from them over a certain period of time. Simply dropping that relationship over promises yet to be realized is a risky, and sometimes, costly proposition.

A vendor-organization relationship is not unlike a marriage.

There are always issues with a marriage. Nothing is completely worked out. But it is whether the good outweighs the bad that matters.

The same is true for any organization’s agreement with a vendor.

A competitor can promise your organization the world, but what holds them accountable?

As with the competing comedian who called up the comedy club owner, there is no telling on where that comedian is as good as my friend. Plus, the competing comedian is suggesting that the comedy club owner doesn’t know what they are doing by booking my friend.

I don’t think a lot of sales staffs truly take into account how what they say matters on calls. Especially when they slam the previously-made choices of the organization that they are trying to gain business from.

It isn’t just a loyalty issue, but one of respect.

It couples with the fact that no one “down the street” is speaking up for that competing vendor. They have to do all of the speaking for themselves. That isn’t a good sign, since they haven’t made any organization happy enough with their services to promote them.

If there’s one truism in business, its the notion that if you do something well enough for a company, they will tell their friends about you. Its a self-interest promotion within any industry because everyone ends up benefiting. They avoid the bad investments or vendors collectively.

So, my question is, if the competing vendor is so great, why isn’t anyone but them talking about them?

That’s a question that most competing vendors don’t want to answer.

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