Trump trash talk: Why attacking your competition is a bad idea

Raw Talent Academy founder Lee McQueen says that although Donald Trump is grabbing the headlines on the other side of the Atlantic, you shouldn’t try to copy his style when it comes to your business.

shutterstock_289873082As a former winner of The Apprentice, I still keep an eye on the programme, both here and in the United States.

So it’s been particularly interesting watching the progress Donald Trump has made during his campaign to become the next US president. (Trump, in case you didn’t know, plays the role of Lord Sugar in the American version of the show.)

But while Trump is a great entertainer and is a perfect fit for primetime television, some of the traits he has shown on the campaign trail really shouldn’t be copied by anyone looking to get ahead in business.

In particular, he’s got a habit of trashing his opponents. Sometimes a whole speech will be given over to discrediting others rather than talking about his own strong points.

This might work during an election, but it was one of the key things that I wouldn’t do when I was on The Apprentice. Candidates on that programme should be trying to show why they should be hired rather than focusing on discrediting their rivals.

Unfortunately, I’ve come across those sorts of people in business on too many occasions. They should realise that it’s always better to talk up your own offering rather than simply denigrating what other people are doing.

If go to a sales meeting and make a pitch, and I know that the organisation I’m pitching to is also speaking to a couple of our competitors, I would never slag off the competition. I’ll just tell them why I think they should go with us. In fact, sometimes I’ll even tell them about some of our competitors’ strong points.

This shows potential clients that I’ve got confidence and belief in my own business and I’m not frightened of the competition. It’s a much better way of selling yourself. It also shows potential clients what you are like as a person and that you’re not the kind of guy to go round slagging them off behind their backs. It shows them who they’re dealing with.

If you spend your time criticising your competitors, you lose some of that integrity. If another business tried to pitch to me by kicking lumps out of their competitors, I’d be very unimpressed by them.

Whether I’m looking to make a business decision or pick someone to be the next political leader, I want to hear solutions to the problems we face – not just have to listen to why everyone else is useless.