HABITS #191 – Staying competitive in the market

HABITS #191 – Staying competitive in the market

For the past two weeks we have been discussing The Habit of Always Being Current and I have received many calls from people wishing to share their experiences when being current carried the day for them and when not being current lead to very red faces, disappointment and disillusionment.

In all cases agreement was unanimous: being current cannot, should not and must not ever be optional.

But several callers also pointed out that in addition to being current there is another, equally important, component, one that, all too sadly, we’ve all witnessed the consequences of its absence.

Since 1907 the motto of Boy Scouts everywhere has been Be Prepared. Borrowed from the Latin, Estte Parati, both Boy Scouts and Girl Guides have had the importance and urgency of this message drilled into them and, indeed, many who have gone on to live lives of great accomplishment have attributed much of their success to the fanaticism around always being prepared.

An embarrassing example of ill-preparedness took place recently when I was visiting a client’s office. While I was there the sales representative for an office supplies company dropped by and asked for a few minutes with my client.

This person had been attempting to sell my client nine high-end printers for his organization and had brought in one of these models to demonstrate the efficiency of the machines.

Unbeknownst to the sales representative my client had also been speaking with distributors of competitive products and had learned of features available on their machines that were not on the one being used in his office.

He asked this person questions regarding the capability and availability of having these features added on to the product in his office and, to our surprise, the sales representative’s ignorance of these features was quite startling.

Here was a person attempting to sell approximately $120,000 worth of equipment and was uninformed as to its capability.

He also questioned the accuracy of the information supplied by his competitor and quite plainly stated he didn’t believe those features were available on any product in the market today.

Not only did he make the unforgivable mistake of trashing a competitor by suggesting they were not being truthful, he then hammered the final nail in his own coffin by not offering to do any further research to see whether his company could provide the features my client was inquiring about or to learn what they might have in their inventory to compete with those very features.

I was back in that client’s office a few days ago at the same time as a number of bright, shiny new printers were being delivered. Naturally curiosity drove me to look at the brand name on the printers and I was not surprised to discover my client had not purchased his new printers from that sales representative.

I have no idea what the commission is on a $120,000 printer sale, but I would imagine it to be substantial. The sales representative demonstrated a complete lack of being current as well as a lack of being prepared. I can only hope he considers the loss of a commission cheque to be the price of education and that this error in judgment on his part has served as a valuable, never to be repeated, lesson.

The Habit of Always Being Current along with always being prepared cannot ensure success on every occasion but, more than anything else, goes a long way to weighing the odds heavily in our favour.

I cannot think of a single reason for not taking the time to ensure The Habit of Always Being Current is present in everything we do.

After all, is there any possible downside?

Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.


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