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.