As I mentioned in my last post, my business partner has a philosophy of helping the customer get what they want, even if it means sending them to someone else. I mentioned the positive impact it has on our customers and customer loyalty.
But there’s another benefit to it–our competitors often return the favor. Sometimes it’s because my partner has worked for those companies before, and they trust him. But even stores that don’t know us have become friendly as they’ve come to realize what we’re doing.
The abundance mentality is the opposite of the “pie mentality”, which says I can’t take a bigger piece of pie without yours getting smaller. The abundance mentality says there’s enough to go around, and growing all the time.
Referring our customers to other stores shows them that we’re operating from an abundance mentality–that we don’t want our success to come at their expense. Rather, we view them as partners in the bigger game of taking care of the customer.
Not that everyone gets this. There are a few stores who seem to view us as a threat. We’ve had them get upset at us when we call to see if they have something, and refuse to tell us anything. We shrug it off, and still refer customers there, but as it’s a blind referral (not knowing if they do indeed have the item), I doubt the customers are likely to go there.
What’s more funny is that many of the competitors who do cooperate with us usually have no qualms about sharing information, even if we’re blatantly spying. We’ll call and ask them what they’re selling certain items for, and they tell us.
We don’t screen our calls, either. What’s the point? If they really want to know our “secret pricing” they can come over and look. Why not be friendly about it? In fact, one of our competitor’s employeesdoes shop our store regularly. We’ve got nothing to hide, and can talk shop for hours.
I’d go so far as to say this open, abundance attitude does wonders for our psyches as well. We don’t have to waste energy fretting over our competitors, because they’re not strictly competitors in our minds. Sure, we do our best offer our customers more when we can, but it’s hard to dislike someone who sends you business. Positive feelings toward your competition can be…well, liberating.
And, dare I say it, it makes for a more delicious pie.
What do you think? Are we crazy? Have you seen it work with your business? Leave a comment!