Tuesday, October 30, 2007

66 Tips For Better Networking - #44

Route 66 - The Journey Toward Success

Get To Know Your Competition

Many see their competitors as the anti-Christ and keep their distance from them at all cost. When they encounter them in the business community they are civil, but they do not invest any time to cultivate a relationship. They don't want to.

Not getting to know your competition can cause you to miss a number of great opportunities to expand your career. When my wife, Sara, worked as a sales manager for Hyatt Hotels she and others in her industry were all active participants in a local hospitality industry association. By getting to know those in similar jobs many of them reaped the benefits.

  • Give and received referrals back and forth. This was common in the industry when one hotel would be sold out for a date that a potential client needed. Being able to refer directly to another local property insured that the customer was well taken care of in fulfilling their needs. By doing this everyone wins. The client gets satisfaction, the person who got the referral wins new business, and the person who made the referral builds their relationship with everyone. When someone would make referrals the others would reciprocate at a later date - what goes around comes around.

  • Building a reputation with others in your industry can set you up for new and exciting job opportunities. When a competitor has an opening, they will want to fill that position with someone who they know, like that has a good reputation in their industry. If you have invested the time to make friends, you will be on the top of their mind, which could mean a better future for you. The flip side of this is that if you company needs to make a strategic hire, you will also know whom is the best in town. Already knowing someone makes the hiring process easier and more streamlined.

  • Industry knowledge is often shared by others in your same line of work. I am not talking about company secrets (although sometimes people have big mouths!), but instead just tips and trends that will help your company make decisions in planning that can boost the bottom line. Often competitors in certain industries will be open with each other about what they are seeing in the marketplace. If you are not connected, you will be on the outside. Additionally, when you competition is having internal issues, your friends on the inside will begin calling you looking for jobs, and this too can be valuable information. If they don't know you, they probably wont call until they are out of work.

  • By building friendships with your competition you might just make some new friends. It is not uncommon for people to aggressively compete for business and still be about to socialize. This is common amongst associates in law firms who build strong bonds in law school only to sign on with different firms. The friendships do not end because of the business cards they carry, and they reap all the above benefits. Some great friendships can be forged with other people who you meet in your industry
Take the time to reach out to others in your industry and you might find that you will unlock great opportunities for you and your company. Be careful of the information you share, as you do not want to be the one who has the "big mouth" revealing sensitive information to your completion. However, you can be a resource for them and turn them into a valuable asset for your future!

Have A Great Day.



Anonymous said...

I like this article and sent it to my whole team. However I edited your second bullet point to not play up their network helping them move to my competition!

good post.

Mary Pat

Anonymous said...

I agree that networking within your market is extremely beneficial. There is no use in working against all other hotels. We can help eachother and in turn, help ourselves. Thank you for posting this.