In sports they teach to be on friendly terms with your competition. We call that good sportsmanship. But in business, many go into it with a dog-eat-dog attitude. From their standpoint, there's only so much business to go around. In other words, they have a scarcity attitude.
Others do business with an abundance mentality. They know there's plenty of business for everyone, and treat others accordingly. They tend to stay on friendly terms with their competition, and sometimes that can lead to business.
They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If that's the case, than one of my client's competitors was constantly flattering her.
Although he had a far smaller office than my client, he frequently imitated their marketing. It had gotten to the point that my client changed their marketing on a fairly regular basis, just to differentiate themselves. It was fairly obvious to anyone that knew my client well.
Despite that, my client stayed on friendly terms with the competitor.
Several weeks ago, a new prospect called my client and wanted to meet that same day. Although my client's secretary asked who referred him, he didn't want to share the information.
When my client sat down and met with the new prospect, she discovered that she could help solve the pain he was having. Towards the end of the meeting, once she had built up some trust, she asked him how he heard about their office.
It tuned out he was actually referred by the competitor!
My client was shocked. The competitor had never sent any referrals the way, and had always seemed to have a scarcity attitude.
When she asked her new client some follow up questions, she discovered what had happened. The competitor had met with him, but decided he wouldn't be a good fit. Instead, he ended up referring the person to my client.
When you have an abundance attitude, it's much easier to stay on friendly terms with your competitors, regardless of what their attitude is. And we can never tell how or when that will benefit us, or if it even will. But when we know there's enough business for everyone, it should come naturally.