Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The 'C' Word Is More Than Four Letters

Regardless of whether you’re in business for yourself, working for someone, or even in your personal life, I would like to make one recommendation: Forget about what other people are doing and concentrate on you and what you do.

In business, I’m sick of the ‘C’ word, competition. I think that any company that is focused on their competition is focusing on failure. Being concerned about the competition and what they do or do not do will not serve a growth-oriented business, but, instead, it must take them off course by the very nature of that focus on the so called competition.

Who cares what ‘their’ prices are, their features are, their incentives are, or their policies are. What really matters is what yours are. What really matters is you focusing on your clients and serving their needs and desires exclusively. What matters is, as Anthony Robbins teaches, CANi—Constant and Never-Ending Improvement. What matters is innovation. What matters is growth—not only the company, but everyone that touches the company. What matters is your own success, not the guy down the street.

I’ve worked for or been around car dealers most of my life and a typical Chevy dealer will say his number one competition is the Chevy dealers in his area. The typical Ford dealer will say her number one competition is the Ford dealers in their area. You might have thought that the Ford store would be concerned about the Chevy store, but that is not the case. They worry about their sales being undercut by other people selling the same product.

As a sales manager for over 35 years, I hear whining from sales people about another sales person getting their customer. I would always respond that if they didn’t ask for you, they weren’t your customer, even if they bought from you in the past. That same philosophy applies to the entire dealership. If they aren’t buying from you, they aren’t your customer. There is nothing to lose, because you don’t have it to lose. You allowed someone else to have it based on how you serve, or perhaps, don’t serve your customers. This applies to everyone in a store from the lowest rank to the owner, to the manufacturer.

Whatever your position, ask yourself, what are you doing to wow your customers and potential customers? What are you doing to improve services? What are you doing to make it easier for customers to buy from you? What are you doing to innovate? What are you doing to improve your operation? What are you doing to be of more service? What are you doing that might matter to a customer? And, conversely, take a quick look at what you’re not doing and what you might stop doing that could lead to greater success.

People who are leading are not concerned about what everyone else is doing. Companies that are leading are not concerned about what every other company is doing. Sales people who are leading are not concerned about any other sales people, or their customer base. Leaders are leading. Others may follow or not. That isn’t the concern. Leaders are leading and that makes ALL the difference.

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