It is a cut throat world out there. Competition can be fierce and margins slim, while you have to work harder than ever before just to win over a customer. The more information that is readily available online, the easier it is for homeowners to quickly learn enough about home improvement to ask contractors the right questions. The materials are a commodity and everything else comes down to the labor. The only other things that a contractor has to work with are the presentation and the companies reputation. If either of those factors fall short it is common to see the fangs really come out.
If you have been in the industry long enough, you have surely heard countless stories from customers about the competition and the crazy, despicable things that they have supposedly done. Such stories need be taken with a grain of salt, but when you hear something repeatedly there has got to be some truth to it. Such as negative things directly said about your company or reports that another salesman is picking apart your contract. Hearing that someone is out there bad mouthing you, messing with your crews, or even actively looking to hurt your business can be painful. It is in how you deal with these inevitable occurrences that truly define you.
Our first reaction to an attack is run away or fight back. This is just basic biology and something that each of us struggles with everyday. Although these survival instincts can be useful in extreme situations, they typically cause more problems then solve them. Take in all the information that you can regarding what is being said about your company and then tailor your pitch to inoculate the customer against it. If they are attacking your leading shingle then make sure that you are presenting it as a recommendation and mentioning that there are other options available. If they are claiming that you are not insured just make sure to bring a copy of the policy with you. If they are claiming that you do poor work, bring customer testimonials and links to online review sites to prove them wrong. Instead of getting angry use it as an opportunity to better your pitch.
The last thing that you want to do is get into a pissing match in front of the customer. Never show them how upset you are to hear the slander or say anything negative about the other company. Take the high road and truly show them that you are above it all. This will make these attacks seem petty and will make you stand out from everyone else. Make sure that you body language reflects this confidence because it comes off as disingenuous if you have balled up fists but are talking in a soothing tone.
Every once in a while, your competition will just go over board. It is up to you to use good judgement and decide exactly where that line is and what to do when someone crosses it. A person, and a business, will do what they need to do when backed into a corner. Just make sure that it is done in the proper place and at the proper time. There are various legal and professional channels that you can go through in order to file a complaint. You can also put a hurting to them simply by undercutting them on every bid that you can. As of lately, there have even bid advertising wars on Google with arch rivals purchasing each others adwords. However you decide to deal with it, make sure that it stays far away from your customer and their experience. It is your responsibility to protect and serve them, offering the best service possible. In no way should they become a pawn in any fights that you are having.