It's so tempting. But really. Don't.
While I'm not advocating that you go out of your way to tell flowery stories about your competitors, I do recommend that you temper your direct criticism for the following 5 reasons:
- You may not know the entire backstory. Did the client, for example, direct some of the portfolio decisions, such as holding on to a concentrated stock position too long or demanding that the stock be sold at a historically low price?
- Who exactly is the competitor? Are they a relative, trusted friend or the long -term advisor of the clients' parents?
- Are the reasons for the portfolio meltdown mainly market-related? You risk credibility loss if you do a woulda, coulda, shoulda critique of something you would have no better a crystal ball about.
- If you sledgehammer your criticism of the competitor, you risk the client coming to their defense. That would be a prime example of talking yourself out of the sale indeed.
- The client's choice of that advisor may have a lot of regret now, but it was, in fact, the client who chose him or her to begin with. Do you want to be in the position to make your potential client feel worse about his or her choices or tie a negative first meeting narrative to you and your practice?