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Home > News > It’s OK to disagree but please be civil about it

It’s OK to disagree but please be civil about it

March 9th, 2010

I see it frequently on Twitter, here’s an example:

  • Vendor A – Our product does this and supports this, Vendor B’s does not
  • Vendor B – Oh yeah well our product does this and this and your product doesn’t
  • Vendor A – Your product is way behind ours, you have a lot of catching up to do
  • Vendor B – Then why are so many people using our product, our product is the best

If you’re on Twitter you’ve probably experienced this first hand, you also see it on blogs. Vendors that are rivals frequently bait each other by making claims that there product is better in one way or another. Of course the other vendor can’t resist this challenge and takes the bait and you have a back and forth debate that usually gets nasty and that all of us must experience while each vendor tries to throw punches and claim victory. This kind of non-professional banter has no place in a professional business. Everyone is vulnerable to this, I’ve even seen C-level executives get caught up in this. You may think that you are only defending your company and products when you respond to this kind of stuff but to everyone else that is watching you go back and forth it seems very childish and benefits neither vendor. Because of this kind of behavior you almost have to question who to trust and who to believe, vendor A or vendor B. Some people may choose to trust neither vendor because of the mudslinging and go with vendor C instead.

If you really want to sell your products and impress people try taking the higher ground when challenged by another vendor. Yes we know you are proud of your products as you should be and believe them to be the best but arguing with and insulting other vendors in public forums is not the way to prove it. Instead use your websites or blogs to inform those who are interested why your product is good and why they should buy it. There is a damn big pool of customers out there and plenty of room for multiple vendors to thrive. I do not work for a vendor and I can tell you from my personal experience that seeing that kind of immature behavior makes me not want to deal with that vendor regardless of how good their products are. On the other hand I have a great deal of respect for vendors that take the higher ground and act in a classy manner.

So vendors, knock it off, please act professional and people will notice and more importantly will listen to you. You may not like your competitors but at least respect them, they’re trying to make a living just like you are. Vendors that have mutual respect for their rivals get real high marks in my book and that type of friendly, non-confrontational¬† interaction between vendors is productive and very beneficial to all. Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t debate your points on social media, I like a good debate and can learn from it as long you keep it civil and professional. Just try and remember that we’re all professionals and try not to get caught up in the heat of the moment and lash out in a insulting or derogative manner at someone who challenges you. The people reading and following you will take notice and you will score higher marks than getting caught up in a Twitter piss-match. Social media is a wonderful tool when used correctly, when used incorrectly though it can really hurt your business. I really enjoy the great information that I gather on social media, so lets keep it civil so everyone enjoys what you have to say.

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  1. March 9th, 2010 at 21:18 | #1

    Eric, You do work for a vendor and I know which one. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it :)

  2. esiebert7625
    March 9th, 2010 at 21:20 | #2

    Ha! Yeah a food vendor, and I love food so much that I have nothing bad to say about any food vendor.

  3. March 9th, 2010 at 23:42 | #3

    I must say sometimes these flame wars are useful, you can learn a lot by reading them. (depending on the topic of course) Especially the ones between EMC and NetApp have proofed to be educational, thanks Vaughn and Chad ;-)

    But I do agree, tweeting just to call out a competitor is not done.

  4. March 12th, 2010 at 02:05 | #4

    You should check out this dilbert I first saw on Chad’s site. Encapsulates the situation succinctly.

    http://virtualgeek.typepad.com/virtual_geek/2010/01/and-this-is-why-negative-selling-is-always-bad-except-as-a-joke-when-its-a-riot.html

  5. Ken Wilkins
    March 12th, 2010 at 21:18 | #5

    There are two ways you can have the tallest building in town….

    1) Build yours up.

    2) Tear all the other ones down.

    ’nuff said.

  6. Arun Raju
    March 31st, 2010 at 01:16 | #6

    There is no use in simply stating that “My products are better than his” because this would cause a bad impression in the mind of the customer.

    Highlighting the features of the product by first understanding the customer’s requirement is the key thing to success.

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