Partnering with your competition may sound really strange but it really could be the key to your lasting success.
Here’s a snippet of what Ivan Misner, founder and chairman of BNI, had to say:
During my years as a management consultant, I would regularly participate in management organization “hubs” made up of other consultants, many of whom could be considered my direct competitors. However, each of us also had specializations in addition to our general management skills. Someone would have much stronger skills in reading a financial statement; another would be a technology guru; someone else would be a true master of closing large sales.
Depending on the needs of the client, I could turn to one of these competitors for assistance on particular projects with my clients, and they could also pull me in at times to help with theirs. We had a clear delineation and understanding of whose client it ultimately was, but we all became better providers of knowledge for our clients by occasionally using this collaborative approach.
Ivan explained this concept at a seminar and received a rebuttals from younger members of the audience. An older gentlemen then shared an interesting story about some prosperous opportunities he had working directly with competitors in his past. He explained how he lost out a huge campaign with a highly established company because a younger, less experienced guy was in the family. Instead of staying shocked about the upsetting situation he decided to reach out to the kid to offer congratulations and assistance if it was ever needed. To his surprise this was the kids response:
The kid’s voice literally jumped out of the phone. He said, “I’m from a wealthy family, but I really have no idea how to manage a project this big. I’m connected and I have four more deals just like this one, and I don’t know how I’m going to get it all put together. Could we partner up? I know I can get even more deals like these, but to manage it well, I could really use your help.”
After this story of the surprise partnership you can start to see how this tactic could work out to your benefit. It also reinstates the old saying to never give up. Even after you think you might have lost out on a deal, sometimes there are other ways to get involved that you can attribute to your long lasting success.
After reading this excerpt do you think you might change your mind about partnering up with your competition?