Turn competition into collaboration
Once you’re happy in your brand and its positioning you can explore ways to turn competition to collaboration
A while ago I was invited along to a sales training workshop following a networking meeting I’d attended. Some people couldn’t work out why I’d been invited or why I’d want to go as I was an established sales trainer and the guy running the workshop had a somewhat intimidating reputation that preceded him.
It was a small workshop made up of people already pretty successful in their chosen fields. As frank and open participation was encouraged and, as the trainer running the workshop and I had very different views on one of the techniques advocated, the session became extremely lively!
I had a thoroughly enjoyable and enlightening three hours (thank you Marcus) and got to know about a guy I’d be happy to recommend to his target market. He knows more about me and is prepared to do likewise as and when the opportunity arises.
It became crystal clear during that workshop and our ensuing telephone conversation that, partly because our approach and styles of delivery are so different, we’re not in competition at all… And we each stand to benefit from our collaboration.
Take another example:
One of my customers runs a small family firm creating bespoke special purpose machines and product equipment for the manufacturing industry.
He’s first and foremost an engineer and found it difficult to prospect for business, claiming that companies tend to approach him as and when they have a need rather than file his information away 'in case'. He relied on referrals and his website to provide all of his work and sometimes there was nothing from either source.
He knew who his larger competitors were, so I asked how often he thought they would be approached for small, bespoke solutions and how viable it would be for them to provide them. He didn’t know the answer to the first question but believed they wouldn’t be set up to easily and cost effectively meet the need. So I suggested contacting them and exploring opportunities for collaboration.
He was comfortable with this approach and didn’t really view it as prospecting. He gradually built his contacts, started getting referrals and established a good reputation amongst these companies and is now seen as their automatic first port of call to help their customers in this situation.
Win - win for everyone. Give it a go - see if you can turn competition into collaboration!