It is always easy to sell negatively. By that I am referring to those sales people who sell the negative of their competition instead of their own positivity. It can work, but it can also put a bad taste in the client’s mouth. Just take a look at the political landscape to see what negative campaigning does. It is much more productive and creates a better client-dealer relationship to sell positivity.

I cannot count how many times I have met with a client, and they tell me, “Dealer X was here selling [insert control system here], and they said [insert another control system brand here] is complicated, expensive, and out of date.” I actually love it when I hear that because I know I’ve won the job. I start out by telling the client that the control system being sold by Dealer X is a very capable system. Just like most things in life, the 80/20 rule applies — 80 percent of client satisfaction is tied to the competence of and relationship they have with their dealer. Then, 20 percent (if that) is due to product selection. None of the control systems that are on the market would last long if the product was deeply flawed; it is the dealers who are usually flawed.

I then show them the GUI I have for my own home. They usually love the GUI and the fact that I can customize it for anything they want. Then I bring them to one of the manufacturer’s design centers to show examples of other well-designed system in action, as well as the level of investment and polish that the manufacturer has put into their facilities.

By selling the positives of my vendor partner and giving potential clients hands-on experience with well-designed systems, we kick off our relationship on a positive note and in a happy place. If we started out by bad-mouthing other brands, at the end of the installation all a client would look for would be the negatives of the system and what they gave up in comparison to another brand, as opposed to being excited about all the amazing control we have given them.

The same goes for talking about other integrators. For example, if you are working on a take-over project, instead of saying the prior integrator did something wrong, say “I see what they were trying to accomplish here. I think it makes sense to do it this way, that might be a better experience for you.” Or, if it is a new-build project, instead of being negative about the other dealer’s plans or product lines, focus on the positives of what you bring to the table as a dealership with amazing customer service and high levels of client satisfaction. Don’t make it a negative about the other dealer or product line. Instead, make it a positive about how you can improve things for the client.

It is always easy to talk badly about another product line or another integrator. Resist the urge and rise above.