It's Not Always About Competition
I was travelling this week for work so while spending a few nights in Cincinnati to spend some time with my Coldwell Banker West Shell associates, I wanted to catch my alma mater, The University of Florida, play in the College World Series. The Gators were playing the Gamecocks of the University of South Carolina so grabbing a spot at a local restaurant to catch the game was a high priority.
I walked in to an establishment expecting to find the game on all the main screens but that wasn't the case. The Cincinnati Reds were playing in a nationally televised game so the College World Series was relegated to a smaller screen in the corner. I quietly found a seat and looked around for other Gator fans but found none. As I surveyed the crowd, I did notice one patron wearing his garnet and black, the signature colors of South Carolina.
The "competition" made eye contact with me and quickly sensed we had something in common - SEC fans in the middle of Big Ten Country. He invited me to sit with him and watch the game together so I quickly agreed. (Remember...I am a big believer that the most important thing we can do in a sales position like real estate is "build relationships" and it's not like I am known to be shy). Just step up, make eye contact, give a firm handshake and introduce yourself.
"Hi, I'm Sean Carpenter. I'm a Gator fan. You mind if I join you?"
"No problem. Happy to have you join me. My name is Joel. Let's watch some baseball."
We left with a new relationship and a little bit more pride in our schools.
As you head into the second half of the 2011 year, will you earn more business by working with or against your fellow man or woman? Are you going to focus on your company's strengths or will you divert the attention to your competitor's weaknesses? Will you make it about what you can do or what your competition can't? Will you negotiate "against" the other agent or "for" for own client's best interest?
We refer to our fellow agents as "co-ops" because it is short for "cooperation." We don't call them "comps" for "competition." Working with them, instead of against them, sure does make things go easier and helps you think that the more you give, the more you will get.
South Carolina won tonight 5-2 to secure their second College World Series title and second straight National Championship. Sure, I am bummed out that Florida didn't win but I now have a new relationship to build upon, some new respect for Gamecock baseball and some happy friends who would be considered "competition" including Joel T., Joe E., Bryan V., Fred K. and Mark S - all of them loyal Gamecock fans through thick and thin.
Congratulations to South Carolina on your big win. You have just made the Gators and all of your competition want to work that much harder...which means you need to work harder too.
I respect that.
I better get out there and start building relationships, solving problems and having fun so I can keep up with my competition.