It’s always amazing to me how some business owners and sales professionals are quick to put down their competition. The phrase “putting down” is mild – I recently attended a local event where I was an exhibitor. The speaker was an author who wrote a book about selling. Was this speaker “competition” to me? He was here from out of town, promoting a book on sales effectiveness. The audience was made up of local companies needing ideas on selling – otherwise they probably wouldn’t have attended – and within hours, the speaker would leave. I saw it as a golden opportunity to remind attendees that there are good local resources to help them beyond the knowlege a book can offer. So while I at first might have been disappointed to not have been that keynote speaker, I stopped thinking about it as a competitive situation and instead how to make the most of it.
Think of ways you can climb onto opportunities like this one – the crowd came in for the national speaker – and my investment in being an exhibitor was very worthwhile. In fact, i donated a session on increasing revenues and the person who won it (through a front-of-the-room drawing) told me that someone offered him ten rounds of golf for it – so I know their were key qualified folks there wanting what I do. See how you can modify this idea, but read on about my feelings on competition:
I met someone there who is a sales representative and within the first minute of meeting him, he bashed not one, but two competitors. I don’t remember his name, but I have his card – and all I know is that I would NEVER refer anyone to him because he is unprofessional at the very least. At worst he is focusing his time and energy on the wrong things – I even gave him an “out” when I mentioned that I like to focus on my company’s stregths versus my industry counterparts’ weaknesses – he chuckled then told me more of his horror stories of Brand X.
Discussing negative aspects about your competition, also known as your “industry counterparts” – has no place in your business conversation with prospective clients. Listen to an NFL coach talk about the upcoming game – they don’t put down the other coach or the other team – they talk about what that team does well, and how they feel they are ready for the challenge. Whether you are into sports or not – take a listen next time you are listening to the radio or TV since it is football season – or find a sport of your choice. Professionals don’t lambaste the competitor.
My colleague Ian Selbie of Power Marketing says:
Never throw dirt because you’ll lose ground.
How true. I chose along time ago to not use the word “competition” – I don’t believe I have direct competition, and the phrase, “industry counterparts’ works so well for me.
Post your thoughts on competition and let’s get a discussion going!