There are a few ways to handle competition. You can be civil and friendly and help each other out while focusing most of your effort on getting new customers and making sure existing ones stay on board. Or you can play the tough competitor card, hunt for mistakes, real or not, and point fingers every time you can. While I believe professionals in any field should educate potential buyers when it comes to scams of all kinds, when it’s matters of opinion we’re talking about, pointing fingers is not the way.

But if you did indulge in saying how evil and deceiving a competitor was because they did such and such, make sure you stick to what you claimed to believe. Try not to forget about it and give a thumbs-up example from the same range, but coming from a smaller player that you don’t feel is a threat and would like to take under your wing. While people momentarily forget, they tend to remember negative statements, especially when you’re the one to remind them of it all.

Let’s take an example. Industry publication X says industry publication Y is a loser for publishing a top based on the wrong metrics, just because X does not like the metrics, valid as they might be to others. A few months pass by and industry publication X promotes a different top from industry publication Z, based on the same metrics. The tops cover aspects of the same area of business and what’s irrelevant for one, is always irrelevant for the other.

Why is that wrong? If you pose as defender of all things pure in your field, make sure you don’t change your mind later. It makes you look spineless or scared and a genuine mud thrower, whichever it is, it affects your image, it shatters your reputation and credibility as a reliable expert/source in the field. Taking stands does draw attention to you, lots of eyes turning to see who you’re speaking against. They will look again when you abruptly change your mind and cheer for the other side!

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