In the competitive world of the 20th century, we generally viewed competitors as the enemy. And a competitor was anyone who sold to the same target audience as us - even if they sold a different item. After all, since there was a finite group of customers and a limited amount of money, if they spent it with your competitor, there was less for you.
Fast forward to the 21st century. We have a different view of the world. We now recognize that the pie is big enough for all of us. As Cavett Robert, co-founder of the National Speakers Association, said "The number of slices of pie is only limited by the size of the pie. Just make the pie bigger!" (paraphrased)
So how can you and your competitors create deals that benefit both of you - and your clients? Here are a few ideas:
1. If your competitor sells a product that is similar to yours, joint venture on a mailing to the list of people who have already purchased their product. You can offer your product and share in the profits. People in a target market are rarely satisfied with one item; instead, they will continue to buy items that are similar.
2. If your competitor publishes a book, ebook, or website, ask them to refer people to your site as a resource site. This can be included in their product or as a follow-up email to their clients.
3. If you offer a member site, ask your competitor to refer people to your site - for an affiliate commission. For example, SellYourBrain.com is a member site that helps people finish information projects like ebooks. The natural competitors are ebook authors who tell people how to write ebooks. However, by their referring their purchasers to SellYourBrain, the client is more likely to finish their ebook - making the ebook author look better in their eyes.
4. In turn, offer your competitor's product for sale on your member site. Again, SellYourBrain offers a monthly discount coupon good toward the purchase of ebooks on how to write ebooks.
5. When you're interviewed for a story about your product or service, offer to give the reporter related resources. The reporter will love having additional people to round out the story and your competitors will appreciate your referral. You come out as the hero to both groups.
Joel Christopher, noted online list-building expert, uses the phrase "co-opetition". That's a good word to adopt. Look for ways to build cooperation with your competition - so that your clients and prospects are the winners.
Dr. Jeanette Cates is an Internet strategist who works with experts who are ready to turn their knowledge and their websites into Gold. Her reputation as a speaker and trainer has earned her the title of The Technology Tamer. Jeanette shares her news and views in OnlineSuccessNews.com