A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I used to sell dictation equipment for Harris-Lanier. Our main competition was Dictaphone although other companies also made similar, albeit cheaper, products.
Harris-Lanier had a high-powered sales culture with everyone focused on sales or on technical support to help sell more. Even the president and corporate managers got out once a month and hit the streets with the sales force. We were provided with state-of-the-art training and incentives.
In this culture there were two great sins. The first was that you could not make a sale outside of your clearly defined territory or account list. To do so was to take a commission from a fellow salesperson. You lost the respect of your peers and your managers if you did that and were usually fired.
The second sin was to speak ill of your competition. Harris-Lanier felt that customers wanted to know about a product’s features and benefits, not about the deficiencies of the competitor. Our research showed that customers lost respect for the sales person who attacked the competition rather than emphasizing his own products benefits.
That is still true today. The overwhelming majority of customers will lose respect for you if you talk badly about your competition.
Focus on your products’ benefits and how they can meet and exceed your customers needs. Badmouthing your competition generally causes the customer to lose respect for you.