Pros and Cons of Being Friendly With Your Competition– Regardless of the industry you’re in, there is sure to be competition. It might be tempting to make underhanded remarks or find subtle ways to make your competitor look bad. However, this is not as productive or helpful as being friendly.
Being on friendly terms with your rivals may seem counterintuitive, but it’s just the opposite. This article will take you through the pros and cons of this strategy to help you can understand how it will serve you in the long run.
It builds your referral network.
In most industries, success is limited by the connections you have. Building a referral network is a key component to your continued growth and success.
There will be times when you simply cannot serve a customer in the way they need. In these cases, it’s best to give them a friendly referral to someone who can assist them, even if that means giving business to a competitor.
Not only will this create a lasting positive impression on your client, but it will open the door to your competitor to send business your way as well.
It puts the customer first.
Your customers will recognize your commitment to their needs when you refer them to the competition. This level of care and respect is not common in the business world, and clients will remember it.
Putting the customer first will help you come out ahead, and it sends a message to other businesses that you are willing to work together when the need arises.
You can learn.
When you isolate yourself from your competition, you close off a valuable source of information.
Instead of feeling threatened by competitors, allow yourself to be curious and open-minded. Foster open lines of communication so that you can learn from their experience and knowledge.
Friendly competition can be beneficial.
Bitter rivalry can lead to negative outcomes and unethical behaviors. On the other hand, having a bit of friendly competition can help everybody.
When you’re all striving toward the same goal, having a team to compete against in a lighthearted way can push employees to work harder and perform better.
It also encourages employee engagement as they must work together to achieve optimal results. This is also a perfect opportunity for some team building activities. Nothing brings people together like a common “enemy.”
It opens the door for acquisitions.
The corporate world is in a constant state of flux. It’s common for companies to shut down or sell off their business and move on. If you’re on good terms with a company that’s closing its doors, there’s a much better chance they will be willing to pass clients to you with positive recommendations.
Acquiring business in this way can save you time and effort, and clients will be predisposed to trust you because their previous provider trusted you.
In the same way, this can be a chance to scoop up the competition’s best people. They will be looking for new jobs. Your friendly relationships have now become a subtle part of your recruitment strategy.
Customers may have too much choice.
If you are openly friendly with competitors, your clients might not feel guilty about bouncing between you and other businesses.
It’s important to maintain a warm, professional tone when discussing competitors with your customers. But, you should still remember to be encouraging brand loyalty as much as possible.
For example, don’t make referrals too quickly. Be sure to do everything you can to accommodate your clients’ needs in-house first. This gives them confidence in your company.
It can be easy to lose sight of professional boundaries.
Just because you’re on friendly terms doesn’t mean that you should let your guard down. Remember that you both share the same goal of making your respective businesses as successful as possible.
It can be easy to accidentally share too much information during a casual exchange. Make sure that everyone on your team understands that it’s important to maintain professional boundaries.
You should always watch what you say to competitors and remember that you can be friendly without oversharing.
Not everyone has good intentions.
Your intentions may be genuine, but this doesn’t mean that your competitors share your honesty. Blatant distrust and suspicion will not benefit you, but it’s important to build relationships with your eyes wide open.
It’s possible that other companies could try to use a professional friendship to “spy” on you. This shouldn’t be used as an excuse to close yourself off from other businesses, but it should guide how you handle these relationships.
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Be sure that everyone understands what should and shouldn’t be shared outside of the company. Keep an eye out for competitors who seem too eager to ask questions or insert themselves into your sphere.
There are positives and negatives to building professional relationships. What you do is ultimately your decision.
The pros and cons in this article should give you a better idea of how to go about being friendly with your competition without compromising your own success.