“Co-oper-tition!”

“There’s enough work for everyone,” she said. “I just think they’d be a better fit for you and your team.”

I was stunned and humbled. How often do you hear that from one of your competitors these days? Let alone from someone who is 20+ years your junior?  It’s not a typical way of thinking that I see in my generation, but it’s amazingly common in those who are younger. 

As our phone chat continued she dropped a new term on me that I have to admit I had not heard before, or if I did, I didn’t catch it. I did this time! She was handing off a prospective client—to me!  “I’d like to set up a phone call between the three of us,” she continued. “I just told them, ‘I’m not the best fit for you but I know someone who is. Let me introduce you to our strategic referral partner…’”

Here we were, like kinds (or businesses) sharing and referring a prospective or current client to a colleague or competitor in order to provide the customer with the best experience and results. The mindset? Just because you get a slice of the pie doesn’t mean there isn’t any pie left.

 

That prospective client was probably as impressed as I was. In fact, it probably made that prospect even more loyal to my colleague, which made me wonder how the hand off would really go. If anything, I bet that prospect will keep my friend in mind for a very long time. The reputation just went up a few notches – and people talk!

“Co-opertition” (co-oper-tition) is a hybrid of cooperation and competition, a term coined for the teaming up of two rival companies. The whole concept of “co-opertition” is based on the idea of teams helping each other compete.

Basically: Everyone benefits when we work together. 

It doesn’t need to be this way….

A colleague of mine who provides a health service was telling me recently about a visit she had at the dog park. She chatted it up with a fellow pet owner who offers a similar service. Instantly, the other individual became defensive and competitive and my friend was quite taken by surprise. Everyone specializes in some degree, and for her, the health care community in Nashville has vast resources meant to be shared. She was spot on.

Think about it: referring clients allows us to continue to hone specialties and services unique to us. And it makes sure the customer is well cared for. Even though our client base reaches across the nation, if we’re even just talking local, as Nashville explodes with growth, I think you’d agree—there is plenty to go around. 

Suddenly, I have a craving for pie….join me?

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