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Don’t Yield to Intimidation – Know How to Read Your Competition

Posted on May 24, 2022 by James Harold Webb
Read Your Competition

Read your competition.

In the game of poker, figuring out someone’s tell can become an advantage. Thus, ultimately allowing you to beat that individual and potentially win the game. It’s no different in the game of business. Knowing how to read those you compete with becomes a crucial part of successful strategic decision-making. Knowing how to read your competition and understanding other people’s motives, helps you sustain your confidence in times of uncertainty and stress.

After Preferred Imaging first launched, it seemed like opening a private imaging center in a relatively untapped market was the right idea for the right time. Neither I nor my partners had to spend a lot of time chasing deals after we got up and running with the first center. The deals came to us. After seeing the kind of service and results we were providing to patients, doctors came calling. Our third center was in Rowlett, Texas. Our plans must have leaked out because a local hospital administrator in the area heard about us and our interest in expanding. Thus, he invited me to lunch to talk about our plans. I thought I was going to meet with him about a potential partnership. However, it turned out that he had something else in mind.

As we drank iced tea and waited on our food, he smiled. He said, “I’m glad you agreed to meet me. I want to warn you. If you build your center in Rockwall, we’ll shut you down.” He was smug. The exact kind of guy I hated working with in hospitals. The guy was self-righteous and superior. He thought there was no way a little company like ours could out-serve, out-price, or outmaneuver a big, shiny hospital like his. He wanted me to know it too. That is why he requested a face-to-face meeting. The preening peacock, showing off what a big, important man he was and trying to put fear into me.

What he didn’t count on was that his toothy little warning had the exact opposite effect. I had been held at gunpoint by the Sandinistas. I nearly lost everything when a hospital just like his was busted for fraud and knew that people don’t warn you when they are confident. They warn you when they are scared. Our focus on patient experience and delivering results faster, more accurately, and with more significant expertise to the doctors who needed them were a big threat to the hospital’s slow, impersonal, and arrogant approach. He may have asked me to lunch to scare me out of expansion. However, all he did was confirm that Preferred Imaging was on the right track.

We built the Rockwall location anyway. Subsequently, Casa Linda, Richardson, Grapevine, and twenty-four other imaging centers across Dallas and around the country. And almost all of them began with calls from doctors looking for something better than what they were getting from hospitals. All of them were the antidote to that administrator’s warning.

The warning was meant to be an intimidating threat to backdown. However, it only spurred us on. As a result, leading to additional prosperity and success.  By understanding what that “warning” meant, that talk over iced tea produced the confidence and motivation we needed to blaze forward.


Want to learn more about how you can read your competition? In my book, Redneck Resilience: A Country Boy’s Journey to Prosperity, I leverage my proven approaches to help you spur your own growth, profitability, and success. Attain your own copy today!