Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Whale Wars - Disruption of Your Competition

The Japanese Whaling Fleet leaves every summer to kill these magnificent Ocean Mammals by the hundreds.  Why?  They claim it is for Scientific Research and that they have been granted a kill quota of over 800 animals each season.  They have the audacity to mark their ships with the word "RESEARCH" in enormous black letters on their harpoon boats.  The mother ship, the Nippon Maru, is a floating whale butcher shop, slaughtering these animals that the harpoon ships continuously deliver to them, drug onto the ramp by metal hooks.  Pretty horrible right?

There is an organization called the Sea Sheppards, which has their own fleet of vessels.  When the Japanese dispatch their fleet, the Sea Sheppards descend upon them with a simple goal in mind:  Disrupt the whalers.  Every moment of disruption saves the life of these endangered species.  You would be amazed at these strictly volunteer animal activists.  They throw Nitric Acid on the decks of the whalers which emits a powerful odor which is almost impossible to bear.  They position their ships to blockade the traffic, spraying water cannons at the Japanese.  They shoot potato guns at the enemy ships.  They dispatch smaller disruption ships attempting to entangle the large harpoon ships' propellers.

The Japanese say the Sea Sheppards are terrorists and are illegally operating their fleet in these waters.  Arrests have been made and the Japanese government has even arrested and jailed boarding parties. The Sea Sheppards don't care.  They will risk death to protect the life of a single whale.

Regardless how you might feel about whaling, or who's side is right or wrong, one thing is clear:  The Sea Sheppards will do anything, including sacrificing their people and vessels to protect endangered species.  Their strategy is disruption.  In many ways, this analogy mimics an extremely competitive sales environment.

When you run up against competition, your strategy must be disruption.  We must create tactical plans to fight for what we believe in.  We must do whatever it takes to create an environment of chaos.  You have not spent dozens of hours qualifying your prospects only to have the account taken over by sales pirates on a mission to destroy, rathen than protect your customers.

How hard will you fight for your sale.  What weapons will you use against the competitive antagonists?  How far are you willing to go?  In sales, we often talk about conservative tactics to "let the competition hang themselves."  While this tactic has its place, when a poisonous lookalike is fighting for your livelihood, its time for action.  Assemble your fleet of resources.  Grab the pick-axe, the musket and fight for what's right.

Are you a Sea Sheppard?  Do you have the commitment to fight for your sale?  If you haven't checked out their live documentary show on Animal Planet, tune into Whale Wars once a week.  You'll be amazed at the bravery, suspense and courage displayed by the Sea Sheppards.

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