Every day is a battle to earn business as an entrepreneur. That’s why it’s called, “The Grind”.
Day in and day out we create, give and share in hopes to gain attention, interest and a deeper connection with potential customers. And every day I get reminded just how much competition there is in this business.
The internet loves to show me just how well my competitors are doing. The five, six and seven figure success stories roll through my social media feed hourly. I’ve even seen how quickly my audience, customers, and clients can be swayed and switch from my community to the “other guys” (or gals).
Did you feel that…The confusion, disappointment, and anger?
Perhaps it’s envy you feel?
Yeah, it hurts, when the time, energy and resources we give to building a relationship doesn’t go our way. It feels as though we’ve failed…ourselves, our families, our employees, even our customers. It’s easy to beat ourselves up, get pissed at a lost prospect and feel jealous towards our competitors. I’ve fallen victim to this many times (can you relate?).
Truth is…the customer is right.
Here’s why you should support and respect the customers' decision:
The Competition is Better- You cannot fault your audience for recognizing a competitor who has better skills than you. Truth is we all have mad strengths and bad weaknesses. In this round of competition, your opponent just happened to shine a bit brighter than you did. Although we may perceive this as a bad thing. The great thing is…their success is showing you there is room for you to get better.
If you’re brave enough, I recommend you hire them. Yes, I said hire your competition. This is an excellent way to shorten your learning curve from someone who’s been there, done that (I’ve hired several over the years, Michael Hyatt for platform building, Jennifer Kem for marketing, Kimanzi Constable for writing and Marty Bhatia for productivity). Own your deficiencies, work to make improvements, and you’ll see you’re not even close to your “glass ceiling”. You’ll realize that much more is possible for you, your business, your pocketbook and those you’re soon called to serve.
The Competition is Different- Sometimes it has nothing to do with being better at all, talent is a dime a dozen. Instead, how you are unique can be what wins your customer over. How many times have you heard a client tell you, “You’re just different than others” (Or something similar)? We all have something special we offer to the world and this gift is experienced by each person in a distinctly different way.
We can’t be everything to everyone and you shouldn’t try to be. If your competitor wins a client because they’re different don’t think as though you’ve lost a client, instead support others who bask in blazing their own trail. And you keep blazing yours.
The Competition was Aligned- Entrepreneurs easily get caught up in the mentality that being better or being different is what wins. We believe these factors alone are what win more fans, followers and paying customers. Simon Sinek shares in the book, Start with Why, customers also make their decisions based on what you, as a business, believe.
Customers will choose the business that aligns best with their values, principles, and purpose. If that’s your competitor, respect them for choosing a business with depth. Don’t get so caught up in winning that you lose sight of your "Why". Build a business of meaning and impact first, the winning will follow your truth.
The Competition was Complimentary- Although you may feel you and your customer are on the same page, alignment isn’t always what your customer needs right now. Acknowledge that your competition provided complimentary services to their skills. If you’re open to helping others, then help them. Even if it means giving your competition a customer.
Be conscious if someone else would be the right fit for your customer. Connect them to someone in your network that you know and trust. When your customer is stuck, your decision to guide them rather than “sell” them may be just the light they needed. They will never forget you helped them. Ever.
It’s not the Competition- It’s tempting to beat ourselves up, have a negative reaction and envy other’s good fortune. Just like you and I, customers base their decisions on a variety of factors (both rational and irrational). Paulo Coelho once said, “Know that the universe is conspiring in your favor, even though we may not understand how.” You may never know why a customer truly went elsewhere and you don't need to.
Respect the customers' decision wasn’t only about you and your competitor, there could have been any number of other reasons for their decision. Keep living your purpose, meet the demands of reality, and take action towards an achievement. You will be found.
Here’s how I see it…my competition may win a customer, but we all win if I give respect, support, and love. It’s NOT a zero-sum game. It’s a game of possibilities.
What can we win when we choose to lift each other up?
I challenge you to explore, advocate and innovate. Come together. How can you support and respect your customers' decision in a way that continues to help others, the community, and the world?