Dealing with the Compeition

There’s a saying that you can have the biggest house on the block by building yours higher or by tearing everyone else’s down.  The same can be said for virtual tour businesses.  Very few companies have the luxury of a monopoly on their field so at some point you have to figure out how to deal with your virtual tour competitors.

When we started our assisted care photography business, I did extensive research on our market and found that there was one major competitor who we would be sharing our  regional market with.  They had great market saturation with the Realtors and offered a quality product at a good value.  Between our virtual tour software and photography we can go head to head with anyone anywhere but I saw no reason to go head to head.  We chose a different niche and focused our efforts more on marketing to businesses than Realtors and have enjoyed great success.

I’m the first to admit that I prefer to work smart than work hard.  It’s a much harder sale to try to convince a satisfied customer to try us out than to go to a whole new batch of customers who aren’t currently using 360º tours.  When I am prospecting, I look to see if the company has virtual tours on their website.  If they do, I almost always move on to the next prospect.  It’s not that I don’t think our product would win in a head to head competition — but why do I want a head to head competition when I can focus my efforts on people who are genuinely open to a new idea.

But second, part of the mission of our virtual tour company is that we will run our virtual tour business with the utmost integrity.  Denigrating someone else’s work or business – even by way of comparison – just doesn’t resonate with me as a way to win.  I can explain the benefits of my product and explain our value without ever comparing anyone else’s business.  Periodically, I run across customers who ask about my competitors and my answer is that they do great work.

Billy Graham felt that integrity means operating your virtual tour business in a manner that is above reproach.  You didn’t see his name in a scandal because he never got himself in a position where he had to explain himself.  Rev. Graham put it this way, “When we speak of integrity as a moral value, it means that a person is the same on the inside as he is on the outside. There is no discrepancy between what he says and what he does, between his walk and his talk. A person of integrity can be trusted and he is the same person alone a thousand miles away from home as he is in Church or in his home.”

This weekend I attended a Christian women’s retreat with women from all over North Georgia.  The very first night, I sat next to a nice lady who ended up in my small group when we broke into groups of four to dive deeper into the subject matter.  It wasn’t until two full days into the conference that I found out that this wonderful woman is the owner of the very virtual tour company that I discovered as my competitor two years ago.  It was just a chance meeting but it was awesome to know that I had never said an unkind or unflattering word against her business.  We were both very aware of the other’s companies and had been impressed with each other’s work prior to meeting. The weekend ended with us praying for each other and asking God to bless each other’s business.  There’s plenty of business out there for everyone and quite by chance, I ended up with a great new friend.

Besides, who needs the biggest house on the block…it’s just that much more you have to vacuum!