Why Bashing Your Competitors on #LinkedIn will Cost You Your Reputation

 

HIGH TIDES RAISE ALL SHIPS – WHEN THERE IS SUCCESS IN YOUR INDUSTRY, EVERYONE WORTHWHILE BENEFITS.

I have been in #sales for over 25 years and I love it. I enjoy helping others succeed and the great satisfaction of having a real impact on my clients. In addition, I get a kick out of the competitive atmosphere and because of it I am always upping my game, making my deliverables better and better. And, most of the people that I work with, colleagues, peers, partners and friendly competitors feel the same. Together we make our industry better. Each of us brings a different perspective, a new way of looking at things and a plethora of strategies that help our clients collectively.

And, as professionals, it is understood that we will not publicly call one another out. We may share differences in methodologies or ethos but we don’t disrespect one another or throw one under the bus to get try to get a deal.

But what if we did? What if we started bashing our #competitors on #LinkedIn? Would it get us more business? Would we earn respect from our readers? Would the impact be beneficial?

I would argue no. I think the words are a reflection of the person telling the story, not the person the story is about. In today’s world of digital communication what you say and how you say it is YOUR reputation.

Here are 9 reasons you should not bash your competitors:

  1. Your reputation is tarnished when your current clients read your negative posts. They begin to see you in an ugly smearing context and your relationships will be harmed.
  2. You lose credibility with your prospects that may be using your #competition now. If they read something you wrote that is negative about a vendor they respect, you are immediately blacklisted. They will most-likely never take your call, even if an opportunity arises.
  3. You lose respect in the industry. In many cases respect from your colleagues is as important as your clients and employer. The moment you burn your peers, your professional reputation is destroyed.
  4. You lose trust within your network. Think about your personal experiences with people. The gossipers in your world are the ones you never fully trust. You know they will eventually be talking about you.
  5. You lack integrity. By definition having ethics, decency and morality is at the core, and the moment you publicly bad mouth (or write) about someone else, people will see you as lacking honor.
  6. Your insecurity is obvious. Most know that when you bash others it is because you don’t believe in yourself. Often when you put others down it is to make you feel better, and it is very transparent.
  7. It may cost you a job opportunity some day. In fact, before you post something, think. If you were to ever interview for them, is this something that would hurt that opportunity. If it could, don’t publish it.
  8. You miss out on collaborative opportunities. If you bash them today, you will never be considered tomorrow. In my world, there are 9 of us that are competitors that have come together to build a new business Social Sales GPS. By working together, we all succeed.
  9. Simply because you are a good person and would not want to hurt another human being.

Here are 5 things not to say about your competitors:

  1. ABC company has a bad reputation for customer service, if you are using ABC company, give me a call.
  2. XYZ company baits and switches, beware of working with them.
  3. JKL company may have a great reputation but they really aren’t as good as you may think.
  4. Here is a list of things MNO company is doing wrong.
  5. You should rethink the way you see GHI company, because they are not keeping up with the times.

When you are one on one with a client and are in a competitive situation, spend your time talking about the things they need to succeed, and if appropriate, point them to your strengths and deliverables. Positioning yourself as the vendor of choice is very different than bashing your competition. The winner of the deal should not be the lesser of two evils, but the right solution.

When writing on LinkedIn, or anywhere for that matter, share insights, educate your buyers and keep your head held high. Be the person you’d want to do business with, not the one you would repel from.

Please share in comments your perspective, experiences or insights on this topic.