The following two beliefs about competition come from successful, well-known people. Which one best describes you?

“Number one, cash is king… number two, communicate… number three, buy or bury the competition.” Jack Welch

“Competition is easier to accept if you realize it is not an act of oppression or abrasion – I’ve worked with my best friends in direct competition.” Diane Sawyer

I recently attended the 2014 Georgia Logistics Summit. While there were shippers present, there also were several 3PL competitors. So many, in fact, it was going to be virtually impossible for me to avoid all of them. Thus, I employed a tactic that I frequently use when I network at logistics events: I am friendly and keep the conversation on general relevant topics without disclosing any information. Admittedly, these types of encounters happen often in transportation because, as a non-asset based 3PL, many times your carriers are also your competitors. There are five reasons to be friendly to your competition (without giving away secrets):

  1. You may need a job someday.
  2. What goes around comes around.
  3. Today’s competition may be tomorrow’s partner.
  4. Practice your quality conversation skills and being tactful.
  5. Your competition may not be as smart as you are, and tell you one of his secrets!

Are you friendly to your competition? You may want to keep this in mind the next time you’re tempted to avoid talking to a competitor. Your next encounter may be an opportunity.