What should I do about an unethical competitor?

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Dear Norm,
What should I do about an unethical competitor? I recently opened a service business that has been very successful, but our success has drawn the attention of a large established company in town, which is taking aim at us with marketing materials that misrepresent our service and professionalism. These people have played dirty before. I’d like to think their practices would catch up with them, but that hasn’t happened yet, and I’m afraid they have so much cash they can outlast the rest of us. Any advice?

Dear Rob,
Yes. Don’t lose your focus. Provide great service at competitive prices and develop a reputation as the class act in town. Give prospects the names of customers they can call to check you out. Above all, don’t badmouth your competitor, even if it’s badmouthing you. Customers will think less of you if you do. That’s an iron rule in my company. If I’m asked about a competitor I consider unethical, I say only, “I don’t think they can provide the type of service you want.” People get the message. If your competitor doesn’t mend its ways, it will be the loser in the long run.
Yours truly, Norm

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