In August’s newsletter, Ann and I wrote a Meeting Planner tip that focused on the way we view competition. If you didn’t see it – you can check it out by clicking here:
One of the comments I hear regularly about whether or not an exhibitor should attend a show is, “well I have to show up because my competitor is there.” I don’t disagree, however, that isn’t the end-all, be-all of that decision.
In past years, I know I have said those words myself and I have even consulted clients in regard to signing up for an event because we know our top competitor is going to be there; but recently I’ve rethought this.
First, why would I be so worried about my competition? Are you ever worried when you know you’re performing at a high level and satisfying your customers? Probably not.
What’s The Real Problem? Is It You?
Consider this. If you’re so worried about your competitor being at a show when you’re not there, did you do something that would make them want to jump ship? If you haven’t, then you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
However, I know there are customers that just like to be a pain in your side even if you’re meeting expectations or going above and beyond. In those cases, I would say – let them jump. The seller-customer relationship is not a one-way street.
You will spend countless hours (time is money) trying to please customers that just bleed your time. In fact, if you’re really wanting to “stick it” to your competitors, let them have those customers that are impossible to please. Now they will be spending time on a single issue instead of growing and building with customers that suit you.
OK, circling back… So if you feel a particular conference is not a good fit for your goals, then don’t go. Even if your competitor is going to be there. Instead, focus on what you’re doing that is making you nervous about your customers speaking to your competitors and fix that problem.
You can also consider using the money you will save by not going to a particular event and using those funds to provide an on-site visit (in-service) to the client(s) you’re worried about losing. A personal visit to your valued customers goes a long way, and then you can say you’ve done everything in your power to please them and save the account.
Are Personal Beefs Holding You Back?
Another way your outlook on your competitors may be hurting you is by focusing on your personal beef. Talk about more wasted time.
I hope it’s not too much, but reflect on the amount of time you have spent
  • thinking about
  • having conversations about
  • researching
  • devising a scheme against
someone you consider your competition that you just don’t like (or that you’ve had a personal conflict with).
Sometimes I’ll get phone calls from friends and colleagues who share details with me about “one of my competitors is saying this about you.”
Because I’m human, my initial response is to be offended and learn more about this gossip train. But I’ve gotten better at taking a step back and realizing:
  1. They’re not my competition because nobody does what I do the way I do it.
  2. If someone is talking about me, kudos to me. If I find myself talking about someone it’s because I care about them in some way shape or form. I’d be more offended if someone was indifferent.
  3. MOST IMPORTANTLY. I don’t have the time. I’ve got a “to-do” list sitting on my desk that is going to suffer if I spend any more time talking about these insignificant issues.
So – bottom line. Stop spending time on them. Do what needs to be done to meet your customers needs and you won’t have to worry about losing them. Do what needs to be done to make your business grow because talking sh*t about your competitors isn’t going to get you there.
-Sarah Breymeier