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Winning and retaining clients

Influence and Success with Prospects who are embedded with Competitors.

Strategic Intent by Hamel and Prahalad, was a brilliant paper about success in competitive markets.  This came back to me over coffee with a successful National Sales Manager about the mobile phone market.

With operating systems are a two-horse race – Android and iOS. Thinking about this for a while, it made me think back to this familiar and much-loved article.

I must admire the hardware model of Apple – premium hardware supported by an inclusive operating system.  As indeed that of Google – free software to support their positioning as the world’s search engine and their advertising model.

However, the positioning I like the most is that of Bose.  Especially when we had a chance to fly on planes, the noise cancelling over ear sets like the QC35 are so good.  A frequent traveler couldn’t be without a pair.  Further models can suit any phone, regardless of the handset manufacturer.

Building layers of advantage, searching for “loose bricks,” changing the terms of engagement, and competing through collaboration.  Hamel and Prahalad


Opportunities for a Blue Ocean strategy (finding greener pastures), as compared to Red Ocean (blood bath through intense competition) – the loose bricks.  Like Bose selling in an adjacent market to mobiles to travelers.

The lesson is clear: Assessing the current tactical advantages of known competitors will not help you understand the resolution, stamina, or inventiveness of potential competitors. Sun-tzu

Ensuring resilience in building and keeping a position (long term, multi-year), focus on value with our prospects and clients.  An example Daikin, a leading air conditioning manufacturer is consistent and relentless in producing leading commercial solutions for buildings.

Collaborating with complementary firms to create a compelling solution and offer to clients.  It is hard for us to be great at everything, through partnering we can be.  Thinking here about housing construction – this is done through an alliance of designers, suppliers, trades and project management.

Reset the rules of Competition, seen by Tesla cars – who bypassed internal combustion and went straight to the next paradigm – fully electric.  Not only that, making them stylish, premium and desirable.

Changing the terms of engagement—refusing to accept the front-runner’s definition of industry and segment boundaries—represents still another form of competitive innovation. Hamel and Prahalad

Further, the authors recommend that we:

  1. Create a sense of urgency
  2. Develop a team opposition focus,
  3. Skill team members to work effectively,
  4. Take one challenge at a time for the team,
  5. Establish progress measures and accountability.

All of which gives a pretty good checklist, so everyone is clear what to be done and why it is important.  Patiently implementing the plan and making sure the team play their part.

Photo by Dave Webb on Unsplash

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