As a player in any market you have to know your competitors and their capabilities. As a classy operator you should know how to talk about the competition appropriately. This ability stems from how you speak of others in your larger life – in general the safest rule of thumb is that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. If you’re selling something you don’t say how bad the other guy’s product is, you say how fantastic yours is. If you speak about rivals in your field, please do so in a way that shows that you’re a professional, not in a way that puffs you up at the expense of others.
I’m writing this post bc I have been “phone-screening” candidates for Team Tanimal since I’ve been plotting how to continue my heightened AlterG usage at home. I am extremely happy with my existing members. CMD was so pleased she called Mommy upon receiving my postcard saying I’m doing my duty. I’ve started to notice more pain and some loss of control on my left side so I think it’s time to go back to acupuncture. Trainer D has been busily fabricating reasons to make me go outside since it’s now warm. I’m adamant about staying within a climate-controlled environment but if he is willing to carry my parasol we can talk. Otherwise we’ll see who wins this battle of the wills. I’m looking forward to seeing Coach R again and running on the AlterG there – I have to remember to tell him, though, that if he could just move the practice near my house and purchase a set of parallel bars that would be really great for me.
I’ve been phone-screening candidates since I see Coach R once a week but was hoping to find somewhere else (kind of) closer to home to add to my regimen. I had high hopes for one place that also does sports massage but it didn’t work out. The lady who helped me on the phone, though, was super-nice. Bonus points!! She was willing to work with me and was patient and very accommodating. My speech and hearing deficits are mild enough to often go undetected but they can make administrative phone calls a nightmare. I had to tell her I’ve had hearing loss and ask if she could just give me a Yes or No answer to one question I posed. Sigh. That’s what my life is like now.
Side note: I am not part of the target market this practice has identified as its niche. It’s a pretty safe bet that this lady was not used to interacting with brain injury survivors so her customer service skills must have stemmed from a basic level of human compassion. Sadly, I have discovered that some places with “Neuro” in the clinic’s name can employ people who seem to be surprised that they have to interact with people with brain injuries. Sorry, I’m being facetious. They’re probably not really surprised – they just act like they’re not used to interacting with people with deficits.
My interaction with her did not involve any discussion of the competition – I have just learned that the level of consideration she showed is not the norm even though I persist in hoping it is. When I called another place, though, I got an earful of unsolicited advice replete with some colorful commentary on the competition. Mm hmm. FYI I didn’t offer a detailed medical history or anything that would invite deep conversation – I was just looking to get specific questions answered. Thankfully no one has ever said anything about specific people I work with. Comments regarding places are bad enough. I DARE you to say something about a member of Team Tanimal. I will not deal with you myself. Their skills speak for themselves, but for my own amusement I will tell Boo Boo or Timmy and they will call you. Take my word for it. You do not want that to happen.
In a way I proliferated the conversation. I’m just too nice on the phone – although part of it was that I was “yessing” him to death so I could hang up ASAP. I just want to point out, however, that whether or not your opinions of the competition are valid your word choice in sharing these opinions tell me more about the level of professionalism you operate on than the skills of those you are speaking about. If I get a less than stellar impression from your presentation I will assume that the level of service you are capable of providing is similarly uninspiring. This could be a faulty assumption, but I have no desire to see you in person to verify it “live”. You just lost my business.
Not that my business is some highly sought-after thing you should prize. I’m saying that a potential customer’s business – whether you’re selling widgets or offering physical therapy – is valuable. So if you feel utterly compelled to size up the competition verbally for others, do so in a way that brings you credibility instead of depleting it – and you’d better be able to back up your assertions with mad skills of your own.