As business owners, sales professionals, and recruiters, how many of you have asked or been asked this simple question, “How do you differentiate yourself from your competition?” It has become so main-stream that many times this is the first rebuttal we hear in sales. So how do we get around this gate keeper question? Or do we even have to? As you read this article, salesmen and women across the world are making calls and being turned down. Consultants are teaching us that cold calling is a thing of the past and yet here we are still making it a large part of our day.
In a saturated market everyone competes for the same business. We spend millions of dollars hiring marketing and advertising agencies to scope out new clients for our services. Most of the time these efforts wind-up isolated on re-allocating money that is already in the industry. As we compete for these clients, the money transfers between competitors while never gaining new customers to the marketplace.
What if we worked together?
Owning a business, I began to think deeper into this issue. In few industries, companies are starting to understand the power of collaboration instead of competition. They are pooling resources to help build the industry instead of creating monopolies. These industries right now are some of the fastest growing industries in the market today (ex. specialty food and craft beer). To give a real world example, I use the automotive industry (more specifically the detailing industry since I am most familiar with the numbers). This industry is ever growing as automotive owners understand the value of protecting their investments.
At the end of 2017 there were 272 million cars registered driving on the road. With this said there are 65,144 registered automotive detailing businesses in the United States; servicing roughly 1% of cars on the road. If we take 1% of the 272 million cars, we are left with 2,720,000 privately owned cars that get detailing services yearly. Splitting this throughout the 65,144 shops we average roughly 42 cars per shop per year. While these numbers aren’t exact as some shops are much larger than others, I use this to give a high level perspective for the value of collaboration.
So what if we worked together, what could we achieve? Let’s take the same example of car detailing. While working with other automotive shops, I realized that not only am I increasing my business but I am drawing clients to other businesses as well who have similar product offerings that I do.
To provoke thought here is my question to everyone in business, “What impact would a 1% increase have on your industry as far as business and sales is concerned?” To help explain let’s revisit the numbers that were previously discussed. There are 272 million registered cars on the road in which 2.72 million are getting professionally detailed each year. If we worked together to increase our industry client base by 1%, this means we would now be detailing 5,440,000 cars per year. The slightest increase not only doubles our industry but it doubles each business as well!!
Imagine the impact this would have on larger industries! We are talking about profit increases on a much larger scale. Company cultures would change, jobs would be created, and pay would increase, all because people decide to work together rather than against each other. New customers would be so abundant that cold calling becomes a thing of the past and inbound marketing would have a much larger impact as clients seek out your services.
To fuel your businesses this week, I leave everyone with this challenging question, “How can you turn your competitors into your collaborator and increase your business by 1%?”
Jon Gyles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org