Competitor Stepping Out of Line...

Happy Monday, Savages.

I was pretty inactive in the WR last week because I was working a conference. Wanted to relay an insane experience I had and get your feedback on how you would have handled it.

Relatively small conference with only 8 sponsors, 6 of which are direct competitors. Everyone was very cordial/conversational in the vendor hall during downtime except for one person in particular. She works for a company that's been in our state for 20 years. We've only been around for 7 and have been steadily eating their lunch all across the state (we've taken over 100 of their clients and are constantly winning out over them).

She never once introduced herself to me and was constantly side eyeing me whenever she walked past my booth. I didn't think much of it until the incident I'm about to tell you about.

I was leading a session on a subject that we have a lot of expertise in. Had around 25 people sitting in (about a quarter of the conference attendees). Things were going really well, had a lot of interaction from the audience and people were constantly taking pictures of my slides and asking questions. With about 10 minutes left in my presentation, I notice some of the hotel staff waiting outside the door with bar carts and tables/chairs. The room I was in was going to be used for a different vendor's sponsored networking happy hour.

I'm continuing my session with this in mind. The president of the organization putting on the conference is present at the session, so I know if I need to call curtains she'll let me know. All of a sudden, the aforementioned employee of our competitor who has been cold the entire time waltzes in and starts approaching me at the podium telling me I'm over time and need to end the session immediately (blatantly interrupting my presentation). I just acknowledge her briefly and continue with my slides and she stands there in the middle of the room for a few moments and then rolls her eyes and leaves. Mind you, she doesn't even work for the competitor that's hosting the happy hour!

I approach the org president and apologize for going over time and she tells me "No no no, you're totally fine. You didn't go over." I'm still just totally blown away by this and it's been three days. This person took it upon herself to come in and be as rude as possible when the hotel staff themselves weren't in a rush to get me out.

tl;dr: Competitor interrupted my session during a conference to tell me I was overtime when neither the president of the conference org nor the hotel staff were concerned.

How would you handle this?

๐Ÿ˜ค Conflict Resolution
๐Ÿ… Competition
Lead Sales
It sounds like you handled it the exact right way and she just drove even more of her own customers in your direction
Mid-Market AE
You handled it well. IMO don't engage, bring it up, or think about it.
Fire Starter
SAE (Senior Account Executive)
Yes, you're living in her head, too. The best thing to do is pretend you didn't even notice her if you ever cross paths again. She's hoping she rattled you.
WR Lieutenant
Well, you canโ€™t do much more than you did. However, thatโ€™s an intangible value point that you can point to in competitive conversations regarding the way they treat others.

Beyond that, she showed everyone in that room who she and her company really are. Thatโ€™s damage enough.
Big Shot
Account Executive
for real. If anything, she did you a HUGE service by being a jackass. I think you might be getting more than just lunch soon.
Head Of Sales
hahahah wow! first off this other person is acting like they are in the 5th grade.

Sounds like you did everything right.

If other people noticed, i bet it was a nice conversation starter for you the rest of the night.
Sales Manager
haha i love it! You know you are doing something right if you force that behavior lol.

I had it last week, a new customer telling me his existing vendor got angry with him about my company, stinks of professionalism.
Channel sales
I think you handled it perfectly! If anything, her interrupting the presentation may have worked in your favor. You showed potential prospects how you handle confrontation & now they definitely won't want to work with her
Sr Sales Executive
Sounds like you already handled it perfectly!
If it still bothers you, you could have your manager or company sponsor who worked with the org to work on the event connect with the org president as part of a follow up to the event, and mention "I understand there was a minor incident when xyz company rep interrupted our session - can we ensure this disruption doesn't happen again next time?" and see if the org has already dealt with the situation.
Regional Sales Manager
You handled that as best as anyone could. I like to think I would have handled it like that but in reality I probably would have made a smartass comment that wouldn't have gone well (Damn lack of a filter from my brain to my mouth).

She in just a matter of seconds helped you with what could have taken hours/days/months of work to build the rapport to move accounts from them to you. She did it by just being an ass.
You handled the situation as well as you could have IMO. If anything, this rude person simply looked ridiculous whilst you kept your professional composure. Well done.
To answer your question... I wouldn't have handled it as well as you did, but the important thing is, you DID handle it well. That takes some nerves of steel to keep your composure in the presence of that piece of work.
well done. Maybe next time make a joke and name the company she's working for
Big Shot
Rolling 20's all day
I will let my competitors make stupid decisions 365 days out of the year! You did the right thing.
Valued Contributor
Tell them to put their big boy pants on and wait 5 extra minutes.

Or else go Tyson on them and bite their ear off.

Either way, you still own the room.
Sales Executive
I'd have tossed a cocktail in her face and slapped her like an old time 50s actress.
Director of Sales
You handled it very well, but the way you describe it seems you weren't managing your assigned time slot.
Account Executive
She just won you a room full of customers. Keep crying all the way to the bank, savage.