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When small business owners, C-suite executives, and crazy busy salespeople start focusing on the competition, they are missing incredible and powerful opportunities to increase sales.


Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to speak at two events. In both presentations, I asked this one question:

Who is your greatest competitor?

The answers were varied, but not the specific one I was seeking. For in business and even in life, our greatest competitor is the status quo.

In sales, the goal of those crazy busy salespeople and small business owners is to move their prospects or potential customers from where they are now (the status quo) to a new place.

Following these two events, I had the opportunity to meet with a client who shared this powerful story.

An Unexpected Visitor

My client had just locked the front door to her business, placed the closed sign in the door, and was just about to exit using the back door when she heard pounding on the front door.

Standing at her closed door was a woman she did not recognize. Even though she had another appointment, she went to the door, opened it and explained she was closed and on her way to teach a class.

The woman failed to listen and barged into the business because she had to talk to her as one business owner to another.

My client then received a very loud earful about her unethical business practices and how she was stealing this woman’s clients.

Now my client is probably one of the most ethical and caring woman business owners I have had the pleasure to meet.

She routinely refers her clients to other competing businesses because she realizes she cannot be everything to everybody, nor can she offer all the products and services within her industry.

When there was an opportunity to speak and with time ticking by, my client asked this other woman how many clients had received a particular service.

The response was, “That is none of your business.”

My client then replied, “I know for a fact at least seven people in the last month have had this service because I referred them to your business and they returned with the reports.”

She then went on to explain how she refers her clients to other competitors and her charging into her business with false accusations was totally uncalled for and unethical.

The Outcome

She asked the other business owner to leave, as this interruption had now made her almost 20 minutes late to her other appointment.

Later in the week, my client received phone calls from other business owners in the same industry and some of her customers.

The disrespectful business owner was spreading misinformation about (pointing fingers) at my client.

What was interesting to note is all the phone calls supported my client because they knew her to be ethical and honest and they knew the other person to be self-serving, lazy, and unethical.

The reason for sharing this story is the greatest competitor for this disrespectful business owner is not my client or any other small business owner, but the status quo.

Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Paper

When small business owners, C-suite executives, and crazy busy salespeople start focusing on the competition, they are missing incredible and powerful opportunities to increase sales.

Beyond the missed opportunities, there is also the business ethics issue of when you point a finger at someone either literally or figuratively, there are three fingers pointing back at you.

Knocking the competition is a bad business practice. By focusing on you, your business, your products and services, your prices and your delivery, you can overcome the status quo and that is just plain good and ethical business practice.

About the author

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Leanne Hoagland-Smith has over 25 years in sales. Her true joy is selling and…

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