Competition can occur on two levels--conscious and unconscious. Conscious competition is easier to identify and work with; people can tell you about it. They could be in the same line of work trying to land the same clients and customers. They could be bidders on the property you'd like to own.
Simply asking someone who they think their competition is easily identifies this type.
Unconscious competition is created by conditioning. You're competing against what people have become used to in their everyday lives.
You have to work against these unidentified competitors; sometimes never knowing who or what they are.
In the insurance industry, for example, when someone wants a quote for a policy, it may take more than an instant to get an answer--sometimes days. While the agent may be working to make certain the right information and price is delivered, unconscious competition may be causing the prospect to look elsewhere.
"The competitor to be feared is the one who never bothers
about you at all, but goes on making his own business
better all the time."
Why would somebody who may rarely need new insurance react that way? Is it impatience, anxiety--the desire to have information now? Could be. What conditions cause people to be dissatisfied with the time it takes to get answers? Could being able to go on the Internet and, in a matter of seconds, receive mortgage quotes from several lenders, or apply for and be approved for a credit card in less than five minutes? So why can't the insurance industry provide instant answers?
The reality of insurance is that many factors go into certain policies, increasing the length of time needed for providing accurate numbers. We may be fully aware that instantaneous or relatively quick acquisition of our desired results is not reasonable to anticipate. This may be a fact of whatever industry or organization we're in. But, regardless, unconscious competition can cause us to move irrationally toward another company, situation, or opportunity when we're not getting what we want as soon as we want. Some people have a habit of running away from their objective acquisition process as soon as expectations aren't met; doing it over and over again. It's like being on a treadmill, running nowhere except to frustration and complaint land, where most people live.