The Dangers of Bad-Mouthing Your Competition

Much like my colleagues Kirsten Jordan and Barbara Milhizer before me, I too have recently had an interesting customer service experience about which to blog. The takeaway I have to share with readers today is this:

NEVER bad-mouth your competitors!

  • DO talk about your strengths
  • DO explain why your product is strong / solid / high-performing / a good choice
  • DO emphasize what you / your company has to offer

But stop short of directly criticizing your competition. It makes you look bad. It makes you look unprofessional. It makes you look weak and worried and undermines the actual words coming out of your mouth. As a customer, I stop listening to you. This does not help you accomplish your presumed goal of making a sale.


In the professional services industry, I believe these same truths apply.

  • Your clients want to hear what you do well, not what others fail to do well
  • Your clients want to hear how you can add value, not where others stumble
  • Your clients want to hear what sets you apart, not what makes everyone else alike

If all else fails, resort to the lesson your mother taught you growing up: if you cannot say anything nice, do not say anything at all!

Betsy Winkler is Partner at People Results. She can be reached on Twitter @BetsyWinkler1 or on email at Sign up to receive her and her colleagues’ blog at Current.