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Speech About a Competitor's Success

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 11 Dec 2010 | comments*Discuss
Speech About A Competitor's Success

When you are talking to your team about a competitor’s success, you need to make sure you get the right balance between highlighting your disappointment and motivating your employees. You can’t just barge in and yell at them or they’ll be more likely to start looking for another job than change their ways.

A good boss is able to use the success of a competitor to illustrate ways to learn, grow and build your business, without resorting to cheap shots and personal criticism. Even if you are in a very sales or target-orientated industry, you can still rise above the obvious initial reaction and motivate your staff with encouragement.

Template for a Successful Speech about your Competitor’s Success

We’re going to use the template known as a ‘compliment sandwich’ to make sure we cover the right ground – too understanding and your employees will think you’re a pushover and just carry on in the same lack-lustre manner, too bullish and your employees will not be uplifted to work harder. The ‘compliment sandwich’ template means you make a positive point first, then go in for the negative, then finish on another positive. This stops your team from being de motivated and helps to raise the bar of expectation.

1. Start with a Positive

The key to the compliment sandwich is to make your team feel good, but not so good that they don’t learn from their mistakes. If you start with a positive, you will help to build up your team so that they are more responsive to the following criticism.

  • Ensure you have the right team members present
  • Start by saying about your competitor’s success
  • Give a specific detail about how your team performed well recently

Example: OK, I wanted to speak to all of you from the account management team because, as I’m sure you’ve already heard, Brown Partners has won the Priory account. I am sure you are all frustrated to know they pipped us to the post, but I really wanted to tell you that I’m really impressed with how you managed the project, especially the tenacity and attention to detail regarding the presentation.

2. Be Firm But Fair About Mistakes

When your competitor has won a particular project or taken some of your market share, you need to know what they did differently and how you can learn from it. Now is the time to be clear, honest and vocal about the reason why your competitor won the project. Make sure you know your facts – ideally, you should speak to your client contact to gain feedback – and tell your team where they went wrong.

  • Get client feedback
  • Tell your team where they went wrong
  • Be firm about expectations of improvement

Example: I have spoken to Mr Mellor over at Priory and he gave me some very valuable feedback that I know we must learn from. He was clear that the reason Brown Partners won the project was that he felt they were far more cohesive as a team and could offer a better added value for their money. This really isn’t a mistake that we should be making as it means that we are letting our own petty differences get in the way of winning projects. Unless you have forgotten, winning projects is exactly what the accounts team is here for, so I do not expect this to be an issue in the future.

3. Finish With a Positive

So to make your compliment sandwich, you need to end your speech with a positive so that your team goes off in the right frame of mind. You don’t have to be too over the top or they will not act on your expectations of improvement, but you can’t just knock people down and expect them to want to perform well for you.

  • Highlight some good feedback from the client
  • Explain you know that your team is capable of winning

Example: Mr Mellor also told me that it was a pretty close call and he was particularly impressed with the innovative solution we put forward, so we must make sure that we continue to let our creative juices flow! I am sure that we will succeed with the upcoming Bryant project, so let’s learn from this experience and go forward with purpose.

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