Competition is an illusion

One of the things I find a little bit frustrating is that we as brokers have historically kept our business practices secret.  We wouldn’t want our “competition” figuring out what we do and how we do it.  I am here to tell you that that kind of thinking needs to stop. Now I know I am preaching to the choir here, that you all get it but a little reminder never hurts. 

We do not need to be fighting each other.  With a 30%ish market share we have a lot of other avenues to grow our business.  How is it with the amount of talent that we have in this channel, that we can’t seem to raise that number?  We need to work together with a unified voice and a unified quality of service to our consumers.

“If you are your authentic self you have no competition.” – Scott Stratton Unmarketing. This is one of my favourite concepts.  There is no other you.  You are unique.  The way you approach customers is unique.  YOU do not have competition because no matter how many “secrets” we share no one can re-create you.

Let me tell you a story about an experience I had a while ago to illustrate exactly what I am talking about.

I took my family down to United Cycle, a fairly large family run Edmonton based cycle and sporting goods shop.  We went to pick up race packages for my 8 and 10 year old for the Kids of Steel triathlon.   We went in and picked up the race package and sat through the briefing. Turns out that Paula Findlay, the #1 ranked womens triathlete and Edmonton native was going to be in the briefing room 10 minutes or so after they finished the briefing.  She would be doing autographs and saying hi to the kids. The family decided they did not want to wait and wanted to go and browse the store.  That was fine. It was a nice night and the kids were excited. I wasn’t really planning on buying anything but there was lots of cool stuff to look at in the store.

So we go downstairs, and Mikaela decides she needs a new pair of swim shorts to go over her bathing suit, to prevent chafing on the ride portion of the race.  OK, fair enough, she’s 8, she’s going to do a triathlon, I guess I can spring for a pair of shorts.  So we head to the womens clothing section to look for shorts.  We’re greeted by an enthusiastic young lady who asks if she can help.  We tell her what we are looking for.  She puts on a huge smile and says to my daughter “Are you running the triathlon this weekend?”  Mikaela says yes and the girl gushes all over her about how great that is.  My daughter is feeling like a million bucks!  So I proceed to tell the sales rep that yes, we just came down from the briefing and may head back up to get Paula Findlay’s autograph.  She stops dead, looks at me and says “Paula Findlay is here?!?”  I say yes, she says “Shut UP!”.  I say “Yeah, she’s up in the briefing room right now.”  She says “Shut UP!”, so I do, she then says “Can I show you where the briefing room is when you are done shopping?”.  I say, “I know where it is we just came from there”.  She says “OK, can you show me then? I would love to meet Paula”.  She was so enthusiastic and passionate about the sport that it was contagious. So contagious in fact that I spent over $500.00 on shorts for my daughter, shoes for my wife and son, speed laces for both the kids and a cycling shirt for my boy! I don’t even know what speed laces are!!

Does United Cycle have competition with a sales person like that? Not a chance, I don’t care if there was a comparable store next door with the same products all at 25% off.  I’m buying from her because of who she is.  Period.

Don’t be afraid to share your best practices.  There is no other you and we need to work together to grow our marketshare.

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