The “Competition” Thing is Dead…..
“It’s a cut-throat world, where serious business means competing for market share to survive. We watch our competitors closely to ensure we maintain the upper hand.”
This competitive outlook is the traditional view of the world of marketing. It’s based on the mentality of lack, on the belief that there are a finite number of clients for your services. So if you win a client, then there’s one less for me to gain. But is there a way in which we both could gain?
We both can gain if we change our outlook to one of abundance. This is the belief that there are more than enough clients for all of us. It’s also the belief that markets (i.e. the total number of people who are seeking to buy a particular product or service) can be grown as they are educated about what our service can do for them. We can take actions that increase the desire for our service amongst our potential clients by spelling out its advantages. We can allay their fears about trusting us enough to let us provide our service for them. Groups of potential clients (your ‘market’) are thus not finite in number. This is one of the fallacies of the traditional marketing world.
Another fallacy is that you’re in the same business as people you might consider as your competition. Just as each of us is unique, with our own life path and purpose, so the businesses that we choose to run are unique too. Each has its own mission to serve a selected group of people in a specific way. It follows that each business, even in the same industry or profession, must be serving the same client in a slightly different way. One of these businesses will be a better match for a particular client than all the others. They will be meeting more of the client’s needs, their values will be more aligned, and the manner in which they deliver their services will be a better fit – that business and the client are perfect for one another.
So if you know there are enough perfect clients to go round, that your market can grow, and that your business will be a perfect match for some clients but not for others, what advantage does jostling with your competitors actually give you? Alternatively, how could collaboration be a win-win situation?
Collaboration with people others might perceive as your competitors does indeed offer a win-win situation not only for you, but for your client and for the future expansion of your market. Firstly, how does your client gain?
Your client gains because he probably struggles with having too many choices and not enough time, and will be grateful to you for pointing him in the direction of products and services supplied by other businesses that will solve his problems in a timely way. And of course these businesses gain through the additional turnover, and will be more likely to refer business back to you. (On a practical note, you can earn affiliate fees by doing this, but remember that the client will then be including you in their judgement of their experience with the product you recommended, so you need to check it out carefully – I would never recommend a service or product that I didn’t feel fully confident in, no matter how high the affiliate fee.)
If you’re spending time working with clients who are less than ideal, they are reducing your energy and enjoyment. They are probably affecting your bottom line too, as they’ll tend to be the ones who quibble over details, ask for discounts and are slow to pay. And they are taking up time that you could be spending with a perfect client. They are not your perfect client but by the same token, you are not their perfect supplier either. By referring them to someone else in your field, you’ll both gain. You’ll view the temporary loss of income as a relief.
It’s a relief because if you know there are enough clients, you won’t worry about the loss but will trust that you’ve now created a space for an ideal client to come into. And by your action you’ll be growing the market for your type of service in the future.
You’ll be growing the market because the more satisfied clients are with their experience with the professionals they use in your market place, the more they will share their satisfaction with others. They’ll become advocates not only for you and for the perfect supplier you referred them onto but for the profession itself, thus fueling the growth of the overall market. And the bigger the marketplace, the bigger the pool of people to draw your ideal clients from.
Any successful promotional activity makes the pool bigger, not just for the particular service promoted, but for the whole profession. As potential clients become more familiar with your type of services, and more knowledgeable about the benefits to be gained from using them, so your potential client base grows. So long as you ensure you and your unique business are visible in your marketplace, your co-professionals are doing you a favor by promoting their businesses.
And you can do yourself a favor by embracing the opportunities that come from collaboration, and from the synergy of working with like minded people.
Are you reaching your perfect clients? If not, we can help! Contact us: 888 733 8865