My name is Mark Wayman, and my 15 minutes of fame was two software companies. One went public on the NASDAQ and the other (counter-terrorism software) was acquired by IBM. For the last ten years I have owned an executive recruiting firm focused on gaming and high tech. Compensation starts at $100,000, and last year I placed eight executives north of a million dollars.
This article addresses an epidemic in America: worrying about the other guy. In sales, there is always the other guy aka "the competition." So I want to address one of my favorite sales tips - FOCUS. Focusing on what's important (YOU and your CLIENTS), and not worrying about what everyone else is doing. There are thundering herds of very good sales executives that don't meet their quotas for exactly one reason: they spend too much time worrying about the competition.
There is a Recruiter on Every Corner - Talk about an industry with competition. In my industry (executive recruiting), there is a headhunter on every corner. I realize my clients have many choices when it comes to recruiting. Rather than focus on what my competitors are doing, I choose to focus on two things. First, my CLIENTS. I take a personal and professional interest in them: help them when they want to make a career move; invite them to my mixers to meet their peers; publish a monthly newsletter with industry updates. Second, my STRENGTHS: Access to top executives; personal knowledge of thousands of executives and their backgrounds; providing personalized service; focusing on what my competitors are doing is not a productive use of my time!
Why Recruiters Don't "Sole Source" Candidates - When I get a $500,000 "C"-level job, most hiring companies want to see three solid candidates. Too many candidates get hung up on the competition, rather than being grateful for the opportunity to interview. In sales, clients rarely sole source business. You may be competing against one firm or a dozen. In recruiting, I'm not sure it helps to have a dozen executive recruiters working a search, however having competition does not offend me. I have personal relationships with my executive candidates. They don't apply to online jobs, and they don't spam their resumes to a dozen recruiters. My time is best spent matching the right executives to the job spec and not worrying about the competition.
Sales Secret: Focus on You! - One top sales executive recently told me his competition joined the board of a particular charity and was connected to a couple of his clients on LinkedIn. My response was, "Focus on your clients and worry about you. Don't spend time on what the other guy is doing." Being aware of the competition is fine, but don't spend time and energy worrying about it. The truth is, most of your competition is not very motivated. They sit in their office waiting on the phone to ring with a sales order. Want to be successful? Get out of the office and visit your clients. Call them on the phone and see how you can help. Email them to see if they need anything. Take a personal interest in helping your clients and you won't have to worry about the competition!