Beware of Bad Mouthing Your Competition on the Show Floor


Remember the old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all?”  It was definitely a reflection of good manners while we were growing up, but does the same hold true in the cutthroat business world we all live in?

While most people would feel synonymous in refraining from speaking badly about their competition at trade shows and events, there’s still a large portion of exhibitors that feel demeaning rival companies will work as a strategy in their favor.

It’s tempting to disparage the competition. Pointing out differences in quality, price, delivery times and return policies are “part and parcel” of doing business. However, it’s important to exercise discretion in the way you do these things, as it will say a lot about your corporate culture.

When you talk about your competition to your attendees, you’re doing three things:

Confusing the customer

In the fast-paced show environment, you can never take for granted that an attendee recognizes who your company is, much less whom the players in your industry are.

Giving credibility to the one company you’re trying to disparage.

No one tries to tear down the worst company in the world — if you’re attacking you’re a competitor in front of a prospect, you will more than likely give off the impression that you’re feeling inferior to them.

Adding an aura of unpleasant nastiness to your reputation.

Your booth staff members are ambassadors for your brand. If attendees perceive them as being jealous or mean-spirited, they’ll assume the whole organization thinks that way.  This is definitely not a good way to be perceived! Remember that “perception = reality” so refrain from making any spiteful comments about your competition.

When comparing your products and services, be respectful of the other companies sharing the exhibit floor with you. As Mark Twain once said, “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and leave no doubt.”

SOURCE: Susan Friedmann,

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