How to handle a sleazy rival

How to handle a sleazy rival
Written by: Karl Sakas

Every business has competitors. But sometimes it gets personal—they go from competitor to rival.

Many of my clients have a competitor who is great at self-promotion but lacks substance.

In short, your rival tricks people into hiring them but there’s no substance behind the sales puffery.

We all have that person—the unethical or substance-less competitor who’s a great self-promoter.

Who’s Your Rival?

A client’s former employee started a competing agency in her very narrow niche—after promising her that wasn’t his intention.

Another client has a competitor who recently moved to town and is wowing everyone with how great he is—yet there’s apparently no substance behind it.

I have this, too—I have many competitors I respect, but there’s one particular competitor who seems to be all about the fast buck. One of his former clients hired me after saying he kept sending them cookie-cutter advice and one-word emails.

Why It Hurts

Part of the reason this is so frustrating—for me and for you—is that your sleazy competitor is frequently an excellent marketer and sales person, so they’re really good at tricking people into hiring them.

This not only costs you business in the short-term—but once the sleazy competitors burns them, your prospective clients might not trust you now, either.

Finding Your Solution

What’s the solution? I find it’s about tuning them out, and finding a way to focus on my personal best.

Stop following them on social media. Unsubscribe from their newsletter. Don’t check their website.

If seeing more about them is a trigger, don’t activate that trigger—stop following them.

Focus your marketing on what makes your agency great for your target market. Sometimes that’s a comparison to what your competitors are doing, but more often, it’s a statement about your uniqueness by itself.

When it comes to your personal best, focus on getting better for the sake of getting better. Sure, wanting to beat them can be a good motivator, but ultimately, you need to do it for you.

Moving Forward

Be careful about judging your inside against others’ outside. People present the shiny version, not the 100% true version.

And if you do keep fixating on them? First, remember they probably aren’t investing this much time in thinking about you—don’t let them steal your time and attention from bigger priorities. Second, it may be worth speaking with a therapist for advice on how to move on.

Question: How do you handle sleazy competitors?

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