Why complementing, not bashing, your competition works in your favor — BIG time.

As Direct Sellers, united we stand and divided we fall.

We’ve probably all witnessed Network Marketers take shots at their Network Marketing “competition.”

“As Network Marketers we are the only profession where, when we’re under attack, we circle our wagons… and shoot inwards.” — Mark Yarnell

Not only does this immediately hurt the reputation of the person doing the bashing, but it also has a long-term negative effect on the Direct Selling profession.

What can we do to help fix this problem? Here’s an idea:

  1. Read the chapter on “The Competition” in the book “Go Givers Sell More.”
    We’ve made it easy by including the entire chapter below, free!
  2. Then, the next time you witness someone “shooting inward” at other Direct Selling leaders, companies or products; take a moment to point them to this article you are reading right now.

As true as it is that, “united we stand and divided we fall,” it’s also true that “a rising tide lifts all ships!” Together we can make a difference, one Network Marketer at a time!

— Art Jonak

Chapter 20: The Competition

From the book Go-Givers Sell More

The chances are excellent that once you’re in a conversation about your particular field, at some point you’ll be confronted with the perfect opportunity to bash the competition. This is a character-revealing moment. In a few sentences, a few words — even a gesture or a look — you can cause the relationship to grow suddenly deeper and stronger, or deal it a fatal blow.

We are big believers in competition, but it’s important to remember why it exists and what it’s doing there. We live in a society that permits and encourages competition because of the value it contributes to the health of the whole. This is not some abstract economic theory. Good competition keeps you on your toes, raising the bar for what a business like yours can do. Good competition pushes and stretches the limits of what’s possible.

In a very real sense, your competition is your best friend.

But sometimes people get confused about this and think the correct goal is to destroy your competition. What a tragic error. If you could succeed in destroying all your competitors, you would be raining down destruction on your own field.

Fortunately, salespeople are often taught never to speak ill of their competition, and that doing so will only make them look bad. Unfortunately, most salespeople have been taught not to say anything good about their competition, either.

Whenever you’re speaking to a prospect and they bring up your competitor, go out of your way to say something nice about him or her. Because you’re a nice person? No. (Although we’re sure you are indeed a very nice person). Because when you compliment your competitor, you are also demonstrating respect — and respect earns respect.

When you compliment your competitor, you are also demonstrating respect — and respect earns respect.

If in a conversation you tear down your competitor, it actually diminishes you in the other person’s eyes. On the other hand, when you take care to say something positive about your competition, it actually builds you up in their eyes.

Three messages you send when complimenting your competition.

These are the messages that register for the other person, consciously or not:

You are confident.

Knocking the competition is one way people often try to act confident. Ironically, it telegraphs precisely the opposite message. But if you not only refrain from speaking ill of your competitors but actually speak highly of them, then you must be genuinely confident. And confidence breeds confidence.

You are successful.

If you are genuinely confident, then it stands to reason you must also be successful. After all, unsuccessful people don’t have that sort of genuine confidence in themselves.

You are safe.

If you speak that highly of your competition, then this person knows they’ll never have to worry about what you say about them behind their back.

How a difference in attitude about the competition cost one dealer tens of thousands of dollars and earned it for another.

John tells a story about shopping for a car that shows how that difference in attitude — bashing versus respect, bravado versus genuine confidence — cost one dealer tens of thousands of dollars and earned it for another. He set out to visit three different import dealers with the goal of comparing both their cars and the experiences he had in each place. Here’s what happened:

First was the local BMW man, Mike.

I’d been there a few times, checking out a few cars on the floor, and Mike remembered me vaguely. He took my kids and me for a test spin, and on our drive we made small talk. I left the lot sort of liking Mike, but feeling I hadn’t learned much about the car or gotten much value.

Next was Lexus.

The nearest Lexus dealer was a good ninety minutes away, and I was too busy to go that distance. No problem. Tink Doyle from Lexus returned my call immediately and said she could bring cars out for me to look at. What was I looking for in a car, she asked (hmm, Mike had not asked me that), and what else was I looking at? I told her: BMW, Lexus, Mercedes. “All three are great cars,” she replied. “I have to admit, I personally love the Lexus line. Well, obviously — that’s why I work here. But BMW and Mercedes are excellent cars, too. You’ll do well either way.” She offered to bring a car out for me to look at. The next day, she brought another. And then another. For the next week, Tink made sure I didn’t pass a day without a Lexus to drive.

Finally, I got to Mercedes.

Like Tink, Ed at Mercedes wanted to know what else I was test-driving. When I said, “BMW — ” he grunted. When I said “. . . and Lexus,” he let out a snort of derision. “Not much of a car, really,” Ed let me know, and he launched into a lecture about how many ways the Lexus was not what I wanted: it was basically a Camry body with an inflated price tag; I wouldn’t be happy with a dealer so far away; he’d heard its airbag might not be safe . . . .

By the time I left the Mercedes dealership, Ed had made the sale: I got the Lexus.

Of course, there were features about the cars themselves that helped direct John’s buying decision. But it was the attitudes of the three salespeople that clinched the deal.

When you tear down another, you are the one on whom it reflects most poorly. And when you take the high road and build up your competition, you create a rising tide that raises all the ships in the harbor — and that reflects quite well on you.

If you liked this content, click the 💚 below so other people will see it here on Medium.

“The Competition” from the book “Go Givers Sell More” reprinted with permission.

Adapted from Go-Givers Sell More by Bob Burg and John David Mann by arrangement with Portfolio, a member of the Penguin Group (USA), Inc., Copyright © Bob Burg and John David Mann, 2010. http://www.GoGiversSellMore.com

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