Friday, July 20, 2007

Don't Tell the Competition

Yesterday I was an event where I was previewing another professional's services. The main reason I went was to be able to talk better about this person's services when I have the chance to refer him in the future.

Of the four people at this session, two of us happened to be Certified Networker grads and two were not.

At one point there were comments about competition.

The two who were not CNers, looked at competition as the enemy, holding all information away from these devils.

The two who were CNers, explained that the person who was leading the session could be considered competition to both of us, but that we understood that we could cooperate and refer because he doesn't do exactly the same thing that either of us do. We are not afraid of him.

For me, that snippet of conversation really cemented the value of what I do, which is to lead the growth of Certified Networker in Ohio. I know that I am changing the way business gets done here in NW Ohio. My vision is to change it for the whole state of Ohio.

You see, when people cooperate with each other and think of how they can help each other, less energy is spent on negative activities. People working together, helping each other, can accomplish a lot more in a shorter time.

I call it positive economic development!


Greg Peters said...

I see this behavior at the Chamber networking events all the time. Someone stands up to introduce themselves and makes the comment that "there are certainly a lot of my competitors present". Truthfully, the only way that could be true is if we've allowed whatever we do become a commodity. If we provide no extra value beyond what everyone else does, then we truly have competitors who will steal our lunch.

Ironically, one of my biggest contracts this year was sent my way by a "competitor" who did exactly what I did except that we used different computer operating systems. That point made a difference in this case and he happily referred the client to me.

I could use more competitors like that!

Sandy of Sandy's Stuff for Women said...

In the ten years since I opened my resale shop, there have been at least a dozen other resale stores open in the area selling women's items. Of course, my first thought is, "OH NO!"

But then I remember that competition is good - it forces me to be better at what I do.

If they last more than a few months (most close fairly quickly), I'll visit them to see what they have to offer.

That visit usually makes me either:

a. not worry at all, as what they have to offer is no threat to my business at all or

b. get to know the owner and see if there's a way we can work together to refer business back and forth.

julie kuney said...

This month I met one-to-one with three new business people who are direct competitors of my business. In pre-CN days I might not have done so and I would have missed getting to know (well-two at least) great folks. We found ways to share and help each other. Kudos to them for reaching out to me!

Observer said...

Even at my professional network meetings I get the feeling that some of the other members who are "me oriented" treat anyone, including their non-competitors, as competitors.

That is because there is a tendency to be "self-centered" and focused only on personal agendas which can be devistating to a sales process.

If there were only more people like Debby out there pursading the hearts and minds of others to be more "you-oriented".