Companies with a strong value proposition and significant market share face at least one competitor that goes at their throats competing for the same customers. This can be brutal, intense, and actually, quite humbling. How do you deal with this?
A business absolutely cannot ignore the competition with a ‘we are just better than them’ attitude. Proof must exist to support your claims. So, how do you get there?
Win against competitors. You can best say ‘we are better than them’ when you have customers to back up that statement. Otherwise, the statement is perceived to be false. Perception may not be reality, but the marketplace leans heavily toward perception. That’s a reality. Build a bank of customer wins against competitors that your company can use as references. Here is how you do it.
1 – Seek out competitors’ clients and pursue business with them. Take a fair business approach, and win outright. Dirty sales practices never serve you well. Allow 9-18 months to see traction with this. It will not happen overnight.
2 – Facts and figures. Break it down. What comparisons are your customers making? List 5 to 10 of these items. Common comparisons include number of customers, product and service features, outcomes achieved, certifications and credentials, staff support available, years of experience, and more. Research and brainstorm the strengths and weaknesses of your company and competitors for each of the 5-10 items. Document these thoroughly. Select the areas that provide your customers with desirable value and outcomes while also shining the best light on your company. Focus marketing and sales messaging on these strengths. Compile this information into a comprehensive competitive comparison document. This information gives customers clear visual presentations of their choices.
3 – Embrace the opportunity when prospective customers say, ‘we are exploring working with your competitor’. This is the time to ask many, many questions about their likes, dislikes, wants, and needs related to your company, your competitor’s company, and the marketplace as a whole. What do you like about their offering? What aspect of their solution best addresses your needs? Now is not the time to be shy. Be bold. Be inquisitive. Get the information needed to determine your competitive strategy. Win the business.
4 – Perform extremely well after taking a competitor’s client or winning against a competitor. Poor performance in these situations is worse than never gaining the client in the first place. Deliver outstanding customer service. Ask clients for feedback. Excellent performance will elevate your position in the marketplace and your market share.
5 – Gather client testimonials and create case studies. Let clients tell the world how great you are. This will carry more weight with new potential customers than anything you will ever say or do. In today’s web and social media environment, testimonials – both written and video – should be placed on your website, in marketing materials, and on both your and your clients’ social media sites. Case studies are also invaluable. Good case studies include four elements: the customer, the problem, your approach or solution, and the outcome. They are rock star sales tools that show proof of your value to the marketplace.
Competitive wins will empower your business to win against competitors time and again in a formidable fashion. Customers will be confident that your solution is their best choice. Don’t let anyone think your competitors are better than you when they are not, and subsequently make the mistake of doing business with them. You can win. It’s up to you to make it happen.
Dana Taylor’s business, Intelligent Ethos provides sales pipeline development and customer relationship management (CRM) advisory services, methodology, and delivery. Dana is committed to helping small businesses and entrepreneurs succeed in the marketplace by creating & sustaining cash flow, leveraging technology, and expanding capacity.
After beginning her career in account management for national and global telecommunications companies, Dana transitioned into business development and sales for small businesses in 2002. Representing a human resources outsourcing firm and a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) provider, she has cultivated extensive relationships in the small business community, federal government contracting market, and the professional and trade association sector.
You can view her profile HERE.