Responding to questions from another brand

Discussion in 'General Business Forum' started by stevetuk, May 7, 2019.

  1. stevetuk

    stevetuk UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    4 0
    I know the answer to this may seem clear cut but I wanted to check to see how I should best handle a question from another brand operating in the same marketplace with similar products.

    They have been in touch to ask about where we source some of our components to apply a particular finish to the goods we make, clearly because they want to begin applying the same sort of finish to their own. They have also asked us what equipment we use to do so.

    The obvious response is to not respond at all: why should we help a potential competitor. However, we often see this brand and other brands at various events, and we're all discussed by an active consumer base with blogs etc, and we don't want to create any hostility or difficulties. We don't want to be perceived as unfriendly, mean, or to have our reputation tarnished etc.

    How is best to reply in that case?
     
    Posted: May 7, 2019 By: stevetuk Member since: Apr 18, 2017
    #1
  2. billybob99

    billybob99 UKBF Regular Free Member

    960 186
    Tell them to mind their own business or don't respond.
     
    Posted: May 7, 2019 By: billybob99 Member since: Apr 23, 2013
    #2
  3. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend Full Member

    12,142 4,218
    A cheeky well thought out response along the lines of:

    Thank you for asking, we are very proud of the item you ask about, the first part is made from sustainable unicorn hooves, with the second part being made from ecologically sound dwarf beard hair, both of which can be easily obtained on ebay.

    Hope that helps, anything else we can do just ask for a clean shaven dwarf.
     
    Posted: May 7, 2019 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006
    #3
  4. billybob99

    billybob99 UKBF Regular Free Member

    960 186
    Or this would do the job just as well.
     
    Posted: May 7, 2019 By: billybob99 Member since: Apr 23, 2013
    #4
  5. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

    30,238 8,881
    Reply with a question about their products. Ask for a visit to their factory to see their machines so you can share knowledge and build a better product. Then tell them about the unicorn,
     
    Posted: May 7, 2019 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
    #5
  6. intheTRADE

    intheTRADE UKBF Contributor Free Member

    42 9
    I would be inclined to reply firstly asking why they want to know - Purely just to see what their response is

    Then do not respond or send a polite response declining to let them know
     
    Posted: May 7, 2019 By: intheTRADE Member since: Apr 14, 2019
    #6
  7. WaveJumper

    WaveJumper UKBF Regular Free Member

    485 73
    Well Coco Cola would not tell you their secret ingredients, so either politely ignore, or as my son tells people when they come to him

    'Thank you for the interest in my brand, I have spent years and a lot of hard work developing the product to the quality you now see and very pleased that you have recorgnised this',
    Kind regards my son
    :)

    I bet they would not help you, don't let then make you feel bad.
     
    Posted: May 7, 2019 By: WaveJumper Member since: Aug 26, 2013
    #7
  8. Mark T Jones

    Mark T Jones UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,054 868
    For fun I’d be inclined to go with @estwig - however as you have sensibly pointed out good relationships with competitors can be very valuable

    That said, there is nothing unprofessional or hostile about protecting your sources


    Really it would boil down to a few things - some that spring to mind are:

    Is information reasonably accessible with, say half a days research? If so, you might want to big up your help with a personal introduction (2 parties who owe you one)

    Is there information or anything they can provide you of roughly equal value?

    Can you monetise the answer, eg by brokering the deal or a joint venture?

    I’m sure there are other variables
     
    Posted: May 7, 2019 By: Mark T Jones Member since: Nov 4, 2015
    #8
  9. Nord20

    Nord20 UKBF Regular Free Member

    501 110
    Reminds me of a recent one we had. An ex-employee, who had gone out on their own (good for them, I have no problem with that), wrote us an email along the lines of:

    Yeah, so, I've just qualified to teach XYZ Courses. As we're in the same locality, how about we agree that I will provide training in XYZ in this area and you won't and then you can employ the people that have been on my training courses?

    Literally asking us to ignore an entire revenue stream, that she knew we had been working putting together for some time.

    My response was, of course, very polite, but along the lines of this:

    *EDIT: Stupid system doesn't retain the time part of the link - skip to 1:22!

     
    Posted: May 7, 2019 By: Nord20 Member since: Mar 8, 2011
    #9
  10. MY OFFICE IN CHINA

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,112 826
    I would look to protect your sources and to negotiate sole exclusivity in UK, as well as possible registering the product/finish.

    Offering any assistance to a competitor is only going to shoot you in the foot, eventually.

    I would also use the fact that a main competitor has highlighted a positive in your product to promote this product aggressively.

    Speak to your supplier and negotiate an agreement for you to be their only UK supplier.
     
    Posted: May 7, 2019 By: MY OFFICE IN CHINA Member since: Nov 16, 2011
    #10
  11. Chris Ashdown

    Chris Ashdown UKBF Legend Free Member

    10,275 2,083
    You could offer to apply the finish for them at a price if they send their products to you and arrange pickup on completion of the process
     
    Posted: May 7, 2019 By: Chris Ashdown Member since: Dec 7, 2003
    #11
  12. stevetuk

    stevetuk UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    4 0
    Thanks for the replies, I really appreciate it and the advice! Consensus is definitely not to provide the info, so I'll opt for the suggestion of just ignoring them and hoping it goes away :)
     
    Posted: May 8, 2019 By: stevetuk Member since: Apr 18, 2017
    #12
  13. MY OFFICE IN CHINA

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    4,112 826
    At the same time follow my advice. (Just my opinion)

    When you see them at the next event and they bring this question up, just say that certain things are confidential. . . . . . . . . . Ask them to give you their customer's details, their response might be the same!

    Good luck.
     
    Posted: May 8, 2019 By: MY OFFICE IN CHINA Member since: Nov 16, 2011
    #13
  14. Socio South West

    Socio South West UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    823 207
    The second word should be 'off' - but rather more diplomatically put...
     
    Posted: May 8, 2019 By: Socio South West Member since: Mar 24, 2013
    #14
  15. Financial-Modeller

    Financial-Modeller UKBF Regular Full Member

    282 78
    2 immediate thoughts:
    Firstly, if there is anything unique about the materials, tools, or technique you use, try to protect the Intellectual Property ASAP
    Secondly, @Mark T Jones beat me to it, but try to make the most out of the situation (fiscally or reputationally) that your competitor uses your finish.
     
    Posted: May 8, 2019 By: Financial-Modeller Member since: Jul 3, 2012
    #15
  16. ADW

    ADW UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

    1,129 171
    Are they a direct competitor so it is either your product or theirs as far as the customer is concerned, or might the customer buy both? If it was the former I would tell them you had the machinery specifically designed to achieve that level of finish and cost a big lump over x amount of years. Just lift the barrier of entry quite a bit so they think sod that. If it was the latter I would probe a bit further. I have worked well with some of our competitors and you can come to an understanding on some occasions.
     
    Posted: May 9, 2019 By: ADW Member since: Oct 25, 2007
    #16
  17. tony84

    tony84 UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,492 957
    Just be honest, you are all for helping out where possible but ultimately business is business and you would prefer not to disclose such sensitive information.

    I think people appreciate honesty.
     
    Posted: May 9, 2019 By: tony84 Member since: Apr 14, 2008
    #17
  18. Charles Rice

    Charles Rice UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    17 2
    Obviously, nobody bothers to help their competitors whether potential or beginner. Tell them not to interrupt anymore.
     
    Posted: May 10, 2019 By: Charles Rice Member since: Apr 19, 2019
    #18
  19. Mark T Jones

    Mark T Jones UKBF Big Shot Full Member

    3,054 868
    I do. And I suspect several others on here do too.
     
    Posted: May 10, 2019 By: Mark T Jones Member since: Nov 4, 2015
    #19
  20. tony84

    tony84 UKBF Big Shot Free Member

    5,492 957
    I am on a facebook group with 4-5 brokers.
    We all help each other out.

    There are certain cases I do not do and certain cases they do not do, so we introduce our customers to each other. If one of us is too busy or not busy enough, we do the same. If we are struggling with a case we ask for help.

    If another broker asked me for help on a mortgage (whether I knew them or not) if I knew the answer I would help them. What I would not do is explain how I get my customers. If they copy it, I risk losing my business. I am not going to lose my business over one enquiry they already have.

    Help comes in many different forms, some forms are fine in business, others are not.
     
    Posted: May 10, 2019 By: tony84 Member since: Apr 14, 2008
    #20