Monday, April 16, 2012

Stealing Business From Your Competition -- Ethical or Unethical?

All content for this post is taken from Fresh Revenues Website, and from articles
written by Don Farrell -- Chief Cultivating Officer at Fresh Revenues, Inc., Author of Ethical Theft

"If you can steal from your competition, then they deserve to lose it. If someone steals from you, then shame on deserve it. Same goes for employees too."  ~Don Farrell, Chief Cultivating Officer at Fresh Revenues, Inc., Author of Ethical Theft

Hypothetical #1:
You are on an airplane and you strike up a conversation with the person next to you. She is the decision maker of a company that buys your competitor’s products and services. You have such a great exchange during the flight that she asks you for your card and gives you the opportunity to bid for their business. You do and you win the account. Ethical or unethical way to liberate business from your competition?  (For answers, see content references below)

Hypothetical #2

... you have been unsuccessful for quite some time now at trying to get into see a large prospective client. You read in the paper that they are having a meeting at a local hotel and in fact, your competition is sponsoring the meeting. You know that most meetings have an AM and PM coffee break. You know that the AM break usually occurs at around 10:30-11. Sure enough, you see as you enter the meeting room area of this hotel that your potential client has people milling all around talking to one another over coffee. You don’t know who is in charge, so you walk up to the nearest person with a name tag on, and you pardon the interruption. You ask them who is in charge and he points to another gentleman and says, “John Rogers over there is the VP of Operations … he’s the main man.” You get close to Mr. Rogers and you wait for a break in his conversation and you approach him saying “ … Mr. Rogers, my name is David Hall (hand him your card) and I know that this is not the time nor place for this conversation, but I would like to speak with you about doing business with my firm … can we set something up for later this week after this meeting has concluded?” Ethical or not? 
(For answers, see content references below)

Ethical vs. Unethical … What is Right and Wrong When it Comes to Stealing Business?

"The deciding differentiator in how you drive
loyalty lies within your greatest asset....your people." ~Don Farrell

Simply put, nobody is a good enough salesperson to come in and take a client of yours if they are loyal to you and your company. Period. If they are able to take your business then you did not deserve it. Same with your good employees who leave you for your competition.

So What is Ethical? It is easier to define unethical so let’s do that one … not doing all you can within the limits of the law to provide for your employees. End of story!  So now, think for a moment or two, how many times did you not pull out all the stops to acquire and account from the competition. In doing so, how many people did you let down?

A Salute to Industry
... story from my book titled Ethical Theft  ... "A Salute to Industry". I would approach our top six clients and tell them that we have been thanking them for far too long now and it was high time we helped them improve their profits as well. I would explain that we wanted to dedicate a space in our hotel for them to advertise their products and services. We would calculate how many guests would walk past their exhibit over the course of a month and the number would be quite even surprised us when we first calculated it. So for 30 days there would stand an attractive display behind velvet ropes, a sign telling our guests who this client is and how they can contact them if they wanted to hear from them.

At the end of the month when it was time to take their display down for the next client, we would have a cocktail and hors d' oeuvres party around their display. We would take an 8X10 photo of the event and mount it in an attractive frame and mount it on the wall where the display would be for posterity. We would also send a similar photo to that company for their use (public relations, company newsletter, annual financial statements). We were in essence thanking them for their business by helping to provide them with business as well. Now, for the remaining six months of the year we would ask POTENTIAL clients to advertise their "wares" in this Salute to Industry area. We would have a reception around their display at the end of thirty days and they would see a wall with pictures of our happy existing clients. We would now be on a fast track to liberating more business.

What was normally dead space in our hotel became a real profit and social center of attraction. I would sometimes be passing by that area and see an unknown guest looking at it and picking up a brochure to learn more about that company. I would approach them and tell them who I was and tell them the cool things about our clients or hopeful client's product or service. A real person having a real conversation with a real person who had real interest. How cool is that?

Ethical Theft -- The Book!
If you are looking to laugh, think and wonder how far you or your competition would be willing to go to acquire business, Ethical Theft is the book for you! One recent review states: "Don Farrell has a take on business ethics that may shock some, but in light of current economic times, it is a pragmatic and sensible approach. If you want to do your best for yourself, your staff and your bottom-line, then you need to read this book."

Need tools that will help distance yourself from your competition forever?  How about coming up with a compelling tactical plan to maximize revenues?  If your answer is "yes", contact Don Farrell today and set up a one-to-one chat to explore service deliverables tailored to your needs!  ... Be sure to mention -- Referred by Annie Armen for that special, extra attention!

Fresh Revenues, Inc.

435 South Front Street, Suite 208
Memphis, TN 38103
(office) 855-256-1751

Content References

1. How to Create Loyal Clients and in Doing so Steal From Your Competition
2. Ethical Theft: How to Steal Business From Your Competition

3. Fresh Revenues

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