Many times business owners view the competition as the enemy. This can be a mistake. Your competition can be a helpful resource and a referral partner. Let me illustrate with a couple of quick stories:

I worked in the senior living industry as a Regional Sales Director. I oversaw eight communities in three states and five cities. Some of our communities had dementia care. Other assisted living communities in those areas did not. We would market to our competitors who did not have dementia care. When they had a resident who was starting to show concerning signs of dementia, they would refer to us. Likewise, some of those communities who did not have dementia care, were also much lower priced than our communities, or they took medicare and we did not. We were able to refer back and forth. Finding differences in what you and your competitor offers can make for a good, friendly referral relationship.

Another way you can have a great referral relationship with a competitor is if either of you becomes so busy or booked that you refer to a trusted, reputable competitor. Maybe a competitor is willing to share advice. Currently, I have two members in SHE Leads Group who are in separate chapters, but in the same industry. One has many more years of experience than the other. They are connecting to share ideas, share leads, etc.

SHE Leads Group has competitors, also. We have referred to one reputable group in Denver, Colorado who was nice enough to share information. This other group has a slightly different target market, but there is some overlap. The founder of this leads group was professional, helpful, has a great online reputation and I could tell was well-respected by his members. Obviously, if you have trade secrets, you would not share those with your competitors. Not all competitors are reputable and honest. Do your due diligence before entering any kind of these relationships.

One final note on competition is to mystery shop them. This is an important part of your marketing plan SWOT Analysis. You can learn a great deal about their integrity, pricing, quality and customer service by doing competitive shops. Don't just do this once and be done. Be aware of your competition ongoing. A new competitor could come into town. Maybe they are a copycat competitor. Always stay alert to the competition.

At SHE Leads Group, we strive to give members the training to be great at what they do, provide exceptional customer service and know how to market their different/better story. Every SHE Leads Group meeting has a form of professional or business development training. Visit a chapter near you, where your business category is not already occupied and experience the SHE difference. We welcome guests.

About the author

Beth Boen, Founder of SHE Leads Group

Beth Boen has more than 30 years of experience in sales, marketing and customer service. She is an award-winning marketer. She is also a professional trainer and customer experience consultant. Beth loves helping people build long-term, loyal relationships that produce quality connections in their business that lead to lifetime customers and endless referrals. Beth helps people do this through her thoughtful blogs and training curriculum. Members of SHE Leads Group have access to more in-depth business development training through presentations at meetings from Beth, her curriculum, and guest trainers. In addition to being the Founder of SHE Leads Group, Beth has had a training and consulting business, The Voice Customer Experience, that she started in 2005.

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