I was in a call the other day, getting ready to bolt out of the meeting to go catch a flight to Miami. During the call (a business call, as usual) the conversation turned into the number of visitors to our site on a daily basis. It is our policy not to disclose this information for many reasons which I will not go into, but you would have an idea of what they are if you were in a similar position.
The calling party then had the gall to disclose a competitor’s number of visitors during a specific period of time. Now, I didn’t ask in any way for this information, it was volunteered. It was at this moment when I realized how keeping mum on certain company information is worth more in silence than its price in gold — that could have been our information being disclosed to a competitor of mine.
Here is where it gets interesting: I was pressured to disclose what I consider vital information for the success of our business. I continued to decline an answer to the point where the calling party thought I was nowhere near the amount of traffic this specific competitor had to our site. He was trying hard to make me cave in and disclose this information.
Secretly, I knew that our number of visitors was higher — much higher, actually, than the number the caller stated. I just didn’t know an exact figure off the top of my head.
After the call, I was left with a bitter taste both from a business call perspective and sour business practices. Goading me, at whatever cost, to get what I would consider sensitive data was highly petty and unprofessional.
Well, without sounding like I’m gloating, here’s what I’ll share: I ran analytics of our traffic, and it took me four tries to get our data down low enough to anywhere near said competitor’s traffic. For half the time range as our competitor, our traffic was in the seven digits; cutting down our time range to a quarter, the traffic was in the six digits; cutting down our time to a month’s worth of traffic, the data was still in the six digits. Then, sarcasm kicked in and I decided to cut our time down to a four-day period — and our traffic was still higher by 27,000 new visitors!
That data blew me away.
Basically, in four days, we had as much (if not waaay more!) traffic than that competitor has had over a 12-month period!
There is a lesson here somewhere, I just don’t know what it is. Had this caller not provided me with someone else’s data either public or private, I would have not known how we fared against them. At the same time, I wish I would have not learned of their data, for I now know where we are in relationship to them. Still, that doesn’t mean we can sit on our laurels and not compete as aggressively and tenaciously as we always do. In business, one misstep and you can become a statistic and that of the dead pool. There is no way we are headed to the dead pool.
Maybe our competitor is judging from their traffic. But we certainly are not.