I work in my own community eye care practice. I’m reluctant to criticise the local competition but my business partner says we should tell people that we are much better than them. Do you have any advice?
The first thing that comes to my mind is to be aware of any professional regulations in your locality. Where I practise it’s against professional regulations to criticise a competitor and doing so could lead to facing a professional tribunal and possibly being deregistered. This means not being able to practise.
However, there are other reasons for not talking about the local competition to your patients.
When you bring up your competitors in a conversation, you’re putting yourself in a weak position. The primary risk is that you might be introducing your patient to a competitor that they had no idea existed. Your goal is to create a relationship with your patient and for them to use your services and purchase glasses from your practice.
Talking about your competition even in negative ways provides them with free publicity. And it distracts you from providing the best possible service to your patients. Thinking about your competition even for one second means one less second for you to think about your patients.
Unless the patient asks a direct question about your competitor’s practice or offering, avoid the topic altogether.
Instead, talk about what you can offer in service and also in glasses and any other optical devices and accessories. Understand each patient’s problems and show how you can help and where you can provide value. You can accomplish a lot without trying to make anyone else look bad.
If a patient tells you that a competitor has lower prices focus the conversation on the value that you can provide. Be specific when discussing what value your product or service has to offer to the patient for added impact.
If your patients what to talk about your competition let them but when speaking yourself, you don’t
need to bring up the competition or prolong any conversation about them.
Don’t hold back when telling people how good you are but there is no need to criticise the competition.
Avoid being unprofessional. It’s not a good look.