When I started my sales career, I despised my competition. I hated losing sales to them, I hated how they swept in at the last minute to offer a low price alternative to my clients, and most of all I hated them because every time they won, it meant I lost. When I matured as a leader and became more experienced in the free market economy, I began to realize my competition was not my number one enemy, nor was it deserving of my loathing.
The truth, I discovered that I was my number one enemy to success. My attitude and approach to competition was all wrong and destructive for my business. Instead of embracing the benefits of competition I was stuck in a scarcity mindset - believing if I lose this opportunity there may not be another one for a long time. Choosing to always focus on the lost sale or what my competition was doing wasted my energy, time, and resources on things that would not help me achieve the success I desired.
So I shifted my mindset and started focusing on the benefits of competition. This not only improved my attitude but also led to improved results and greater satisfaction for me and for my clients.
Here are the top five ways competition works to your advantage:
- Competition Drives Innovation - Instead of getting frustrated with how your competition operates, look to see what you can learn from them and improve on in your business. You must spend time brainstorming how you can create or improve your own products, services, and strategies. What is no one else doing? What can you do better than anyone else? Is there a new way to produce your product or service that will increase your margins? Your competition should drive you to always be improving and thinking outside the box.
- Competition Creates A Healthy Culture - Gone are the days of employees staying with a company for 25+ years. Does it have to be this way? I don’t think so. One reason people move from company to company in their industry is because no one is focusing on overall team health. Great companies are starting to realize this and have figured out that focusing on a healthy team culture characterized by fair benefits, development opportunities, community service, fair wages and recognition leads to a competitive advantage. In a healthy team culture you will have greater productivity, employment satisfaction and a deeper sense of belonging resulting in higher retention of key employees.
- Competition Demands An Improved Customer Experience - I am a firm believer that you do not need to overly wow your customers. You need to anticipate and meet their needs consistently, and you need to exceed their expectations for service. This means you cannot keep the same service model you created ten, five or even three years ago. You must be observing and learning from your competition’s customer experience, listening to consumer’s needs, and delivering second mile service that exceeds their expectations in order to stay relevant in your industry.
- Competition Helps You Focus On What You Do Best - Sometimes its good to let your competition spread themselves thin by trying to be everything to every consumer. Apple has mastered this principle by focusing on a limited number of consumer products that they can design, market, and sell better than anyone else in the world. Your competition’s move into new markets, products, or services should always cause you to pause and ask a few questions:
- “Is this an emerging market we must enter if we are going to survive?"
- “Is this something we can deliver on with excellence?”
- “Does this align with what we do best, our vision and core values?
- Competition Compels You To Act - Your competition keeps you on your toes for sure. You must always be observing them, monitoring consumer trends and the markets. Your competition will compel you to act by responding with a solution of your own, improving your existing solution or by choosing to be patient - research - and plan. What you cannot do is sit idle, doing nothing, hoping things turn out okay. You must take appropriate action that keeps you in a position to deliver your service with excellence and respond to consumer needs.
There is no doubt that competition can be frustrating and sometimes downright nasty to deal with, but the benefits far outweigh the harm. I encourage you to start looking at competition more positively and through the lens of the benefits outlined above. Don’t waste your energy and time wishing that competition did not exist. It does, it's good for you and if you embrace it you will achieve great success.