By Sheena McKinney, Executive Assistant to President Matt Heinz at Heinz Marketing

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy” and Mark Twain said “Comparison is the death of joy.”

Strong words from two smart and famous men.

Inter-personally, comparison is most often negative and unproductive.  It rarely serves us well.  Jon Accuf, a New York Times bestselling author wisely counsels, “Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”  And we all know (or should) that what people project on social media and/or their holiday card may or may not accurately depict how they are really doing in any given aspect of life.

But happiness expert and author, Scott Wilhite says Roosevelt Was Wrong, Comparison is Not the Thief of Joy.  Check out his viewpoint.  He talks about How using comparison as a skill can actually give you a huge boost.

This just affirms what I believe to be true… most things (even comparison) can be good or bad depending on how you look at it!

I will say in the business world and in sales, comparison really can’t be avoided.  If you are in sales, you have competitors.  It seems painfully obvious and basic, but based on the customer service I receive sometimes, you wouldn’t know it.

Choices in every vector abound.  As the customer, and the consumer we want choices and we should, and do compare them.   How is it that sales people who want and need our business forget this?

I was really surprised recently when I started looking for a venue for a large event by the extreme contrast in customer service between the event planners…. Especially because they knew they were competing with other local venues for our business.  I’m not just talking about comparing amenities and pricing, I’m talking about good old customer service:  Returning calls and emails in timely manner, acting like one wants and is proactively seeking my business, and just plain being positive.  For me, a potential vendor loses points big time when I ask them about their competitor, and they know nothing about them and/or if they bad mouth them.  If they don’t email or call me back for days… that sends a message, and not a good one. Sometimes, with all things being equal, its the person who pursues me and my business that gets the deal.

If you are in sales of any kind, remember… your customer, existing or potential, is comparing you always.  It’s human nature.  You know this.  I’m assuming (not being a sales person myself) it’s Sales 101.

Excellent customer service goes a long way toward landing the deal.

Conversely it doesn’t take much to be the victim of theft (stolen by your competitor) and that’s a real kill joy!