Tim Berry, author of Business Plan Pro and our resident business planning expert was recently featured over at Inc Magazine in an article about how some companies “go negative” and bash their competition to make a sale. It’s an article worth reading as I’m sure most companies have been at either the giving or the receiving end of this situation at some point.

But successful selling is largely a matter of distinguishing yourself from the competition. And as the recent spate of mudslinging on the presidential campaign trail suggests, “going negative” is an effective and time-honored way of accomplishing just that. Of course, slamming the competition is a high-stakes game. Do it wrong, and you’ll probably blow the sale–and end up looking like a world-class jerk at the same time. “It’s a minefield,” says Cleveland-based sales consultant Andy Birol.

AvatarNoah Parsons

Noah is currently the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of the online business plan app LivePlan. You can follow Noah on Twitter.