The coverage of the NCAA Basketball Tournament and the Final Four 2015 have been steady in my office. ESPN is usually turned on. That is the only reason. This weekend should have some great competition, but I’ll probably pass on watching it. I have not watched a single basketball game this year, and I don’t plan to start this weekend.
This is the first year I haven’t, and it’s only because I have been too busy to with either work or family. Still, I’m writing a blog about it because there is a comparison of a sports Final Four to a business Final Four.
Avoid being in a Final Four in business
When I meet with a potential client and learn that they are “shopping”, I don’t put much hope in winning the business. Usually in this situation the buyer has focused the value of their decision on price. They aren’t looking at the big picture and the overall value to their business. If my price is higher than my competitors, it is harder for me to convince the buyer I’m the better decision. Even when I am offering more and have a better track track record of helping clients it may not matter. This type of buyer is only focused on price.
My ideal situation is a referral from a client. The buyer in this situation has been told “I am the guy you need to talk to”. I’m playing in the championship all by myself. There was no bracket to compete with. The game has already been won. My client has closed the business in advance for me. Everyone usually agrees word of mouth/referral business is ideal.
The second best situation is where my prospect has decided to call me based on the content of my website. It has convinced them I am an expert and worth talking to. I’m still in the championship game. My website did the work of eliminating the competition in the business bracket.
Evaluate how you have won
Use this weekend to think about your past experiences in winning business whether you watch the Final Four or not. Think about past opportunities. Evaluate your client roster. Ask yourself how you acquired those clients. How many were referrals? How many bought from you where you knew you were directly competing with other companies? How many bought where you knew you were the only one?
Find the pattern where your business stood alone against your competitors. Look for how you can be the obvious choice in future opportunities. Competition is healthy. It makes the market, products, and services better for all. This is just an example of working smarter, not harder.