I was chatting with a long-standing client recently. She runs a very successful estate agency in the South East, and we generally enjoy a bit of chit-chat before we talk business! This recent catch-up was no exception, and she was obviously desperate to tell me ‘a funny story’ about how one of her competitors had quite recently tried to sabotage her reputation by publicly bringing her credentials into question.
I mean, I wouldn’t say that’s funny – more rude and disrespectful!
It turns out that, without going into all the details, her credentials had been questioned publicly in a way that was meant to ultimately make her look incompetent.
Well, she is far from incompetent let me tell you!
Anyway, both my client and I agreed that there is absolutely nothing wrong with competitors reaching out, asking questions, having a chat… except she doubts this competitor really wanted to know. It was merely a feeble attempt at calling her out and trying to trip her up.
It’s quite sad to think that some adults in business who purport to be professional, will stoop to this level, and unless we are all regressing to the playground there is no need for it, so I whole-heartedly empathised with my poor client.
So, seeing as she thought it was funny, what do you think she did?
Was she so incandescent with rage, that she stormed round to her competitor’s premises and threatened to wrap a sold board round his head?
Did she curl up in a ball, hide in a corner sobbing for three days until a colleague tempted her out with the promise of 7 new instructions and a cheeky G&T on Friday?
Or, had she publicly retaliated within the hour by leaving one-star reviews on all of her competitor’s review platforms and social media accounts?
Yep, you’ve guessed it. None of the above!
As I started to point out the fact that situations like this are all about how you interpret them, she interrupted me and explained that she had simply laughed it off and was still laughing.
She was secretly delighted to receive one of the biggest back-handed compliments ever!
And I agree.
If a competitor takes the time to think up weird and wonderful or just plain stupid ways of damaging your reputation, tries to trip you up, bad mouths you to potential clients and generally tries to do all they can to steer people away from your business, then seriously, you have made it!
You’re obviously a massive threat to your competitor as they wouldn’t be concerned about damaging your reputation or trying to call you out if you weren’t.
So, it’s the biggest compliment you can get!
In business, you are always going to have competition, whatever you do and whatever industry you’re in, so there’s no point in worrying about it.
Any client worth working with will do their own research into you and your agency, your ethos and your morals.
So, like my client, concentrate on being outstanding at what you do. This means consistently cementing your reputation as the expert go-to estate agent in your location by providing knowledgeable, engaging, informative, helpful and valuable content to your target audience, rather than wasting time worrying about what others are doing or saying.
All you have to be is the best.