Admire Your Competition and Learn from Them

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
February 17, 2011

You want to beat your competition. You deeply believe that you are better than they are and that you deserve your dream client. So you play hard, and you play for keeps. Your competitors are fierce, and they do the same.

Your competitors are worthy of your respect. Mostly. Some of them are worthy of more than your respect; some are worth emulating.

Drop the Criticism and Notice What Do They To Win

As a young man fronting a rock band, I hung around with a lot of young bucks that never failed to criticize other bands—especially the successful bands. They would cut on everybody. At some point, I changed my view and decided instead to figure out what these bands did that worked for them and why. Instead of criticizing other bands, I looked for what I might learn from them. I found lots to learn, and it helped me get better and more competent faster than I might have otherwise.

I still practice this idea to this day, with sales, and everything else.

You need to believe that you are better. You need to believe you can win. But you have to drop the criticism of your competitors and recognize what it is that they do that allows them to win. You can’t—or won’t—do this if you are too busy looking at their faults.

Not the Me Too Stuff

A word of caution here: this doesn’t mean that you try the me-too approach to copying their offerings. This is about sales activities and behaviors.

Does your fiercest competitor do a better job nurturing the dream clients you are both pursuing? When you call on your dream clients, do you find that they have deeper relationships in more areas? When they win, do you often here it is because their solution just seemed to mirror their vision more closely than any other?

What Can You Learn (and How Fast?)

If you drop the criticism long enough to notice what they do well, you can find some things worth learning, worth emulating.

Your competitor nurtures and develops relationships well? What are they doing? How are they doing it? If you aren’t defensive or critical, your dream clients will share this information with you.

Your fierce opponent in competitions has a shocking and staggering number of deep relationships? Get past the criticism; admire the outcome that they are achieving and start working north and south.

Their solution seems to match your dream client’s vision more than a few times in row? Time to drop the professional jealousy and start working on learning how you can improve your own game to close that gap.

Refusing to notice what your competitors do well, what is worthy of emulation, prevents you from learning how you might add what makes them effective to your own arsenal.


What do you know about what your competitors do well as salespeople?

What observations might you miss making if you are always critical?

What could you learn to emulate that would make you a more formidable opponent?

Sales 2011
Post by Anthony Iannarino on February 17, 2011
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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