When you are in front of potential customers, do not discuss the problems of your competitors. Talk about what you can do. Discuss your strengths and capabilities. You do not want to seem paranoid or threatened by talking badly about your competition. When you do, you seem strangely focused upon the competition versus the needs and interests of your customer. Do not taint your image.
You do not know enough about your competition to comment…period. The best thing to say when asked about your competition is to admit you do not know everything about your competitors or what they are currently doing. You do know all of your current strengths and what you have to help customers. You cannot speak about whether they have grown in the market or shrunken in financial size or marketplace. You do not know. Always revert to your strength.
You do know plenty about your own firm’s progress. You do know your firm has broadened its capabilities and serves a number of clients, large and small, in-state and throughout the country, small projects of a few days or those spanning three or four years. Do not talk about the faults of your competitors because you have so much more to discuss about your own firm.
Be cautious; your customers may know your competitors very well so do not comment. Why not discuss the competition? The customer may well know your competitors better than you, and your comments may indicate falsehoods or statements that are not or are no longer true. Understand that your customer may have just talked to the guy he is asking you about to see how you react. You do not know about this competitor so you need not mention any information that may not be pertinent, current, relevant or even helpful in your quest to secure more business. Say, “I am not familiar with that firm but I do know one thing. I know quite well all of the great services and products we can provide for you!”
Do not compromise your trust with the customer. Tell the customer you make it a point in your career not to comment on competitors or their capabilities since those things change every day. What you do talk about is what you can control and what your firm can do for a customer. Talk about what you will do for him. The customer will like to hear this and appreciate your honesty and integrity. Go about proving this to them.