When I first started out as a real estate agent I had no time for my competitors. I distrusted them and wanted to beat them at almost any cost. But a lot has changed since then.
Over the years I’ve learned that my competitors aren’t the threat I once thought they were. Rather, many of my current competitors have become close friends and mentors.
Here, then, are my top reasons to develop strong ties with the competition.
1. What is not given is lost
OK, that’s an old (possibly Chinese) proverb but it’s one that I’ve found to be true over the years. For me it means that ideas I hang onto will be lost for everyone. When I share ideas I enrich the lives of the people I share them with. But when I hold on to them I become diminished.
2. Sharing helps us all grow quicker
The flip-side to the previous point is that sharing helps everyone grow faster. I’ve seen how this works during REBarCamp where a bunch of real estate agents get together to share marketing ideas. One idea helps to spark another and then another and then another. Soon one idea that seemed run-of-the-mill to the person that shared it has created something that’s changed another person’s business forever.
3. They help me realise I’m not alone
When I started my business I kind of thought that I had to do it all. I had this sense that I was a one man army fighting a war that was never going to end. But the time I’ve spent with my competitors has taught me that we all face similar problems and issues. It might be staff recruitment and retention, team building or lead generation – whatever the problem we each have ways of dealing with the issue that can be helpful to someone else.
4. They helped me realise I’m doing OK
Over the years I’ve been my own worst critic. I’ve gone to conferences and listened to the sales gurus and come away thinking I can and should be doing so much better. But once I started sharing ideas and results with my competitors I soon realised I was doing OK. Sure, there were areas I could lift my game but in most areas I could hold my head up high and feel proud of what I’d achieved.
5. They make me feel super supported
Sometimes running a business can be lonely and hard. Sometimes you don’t know all the answers. And when that happens today I pick up the phone and ask. In an instant I’ll have the answer I need. Today, I couldn’t do without my support network of super-generous competitors.
6. They’re the reality check I want and need
I’m always coming up with new ideas. It’s almost a disease. If I have any doubt I’ll have a coffee with one of my competitors and ask them for their feedback. They can be brutal. Sometimes they’ll give me the green light. At other times they’ll tell me why it’s such a bad idea. Either way their feedback is essential – and valuable.
7. They lift me higher
Sometimes I think I’m doing ok, then I have a chat to one of my friends and they tell me what they’re doing. Suddenly I realise how far I have to go and how much work is still ahead. It spurs me on to do more.
Those are a few of my reasons to stay connected with my competitors. What about you?