Have you ever had the situation where you’ve lost a new prospect or even an existing client to a competitor that has not only undercut you in price but also offered an inferior service?
Being undercut by less scrupulous competitors is a challenge virtually every business owner will face. Whether it’s a copycat trying to make a quick buck, a business expanding into a new vertical and not understanding the industry or just a shoddy operator, it can be exasperating and if you’re not careful, dangerous to your business.
While it is important to keep a close eye on your competitors (how else can you improve?), it can be easy to fall into the trap of being anxious, fearful and consumed by how your competition is faring. The real test is how a successful business owner will rise to the challenge of someone attempting to steal their business and/or clientele.
If you find yourself up against an unscrupulous competitor here are five strategies you can try to get ahead.
Focus on what you do well and maintain those standards. Make sure you have a clear unique selling proposition (USP) as this is what will make your business successful. Remember less is more – it is better to be exceptionally good at a few things than mediocre at lots.
Find out all the positive reasons why clients choose you over your competitors. Ask your team for their input and even ask your clients if you have a good rapport with them. You may even uncover some arguments you had never previously considered. Sometimes it is the simple things that matter most to clients – your location, your parking, the sunny smiles on your staffs’ faces.
Incorporate all the reasons why clients choose your business into your marketing. It’s not enough to be the best, you have to shout about it! In addition, your staff should also be well versed in the strengths of the business as you are and be able to not only tell that story effectively but deliver it effectively. In many respects, it is better to under-promise and over-deliver because consumers are wise to unlikely promises.
Ensure that your clients understand the value and quality you offer. Never speak negatively of your competitors – instead focus on your proven track record. When clients are price focused rather than results focused, resist the temptation to discount or cut corners. Instead, hold your ground in your belief that your service is worth more than the competitor’s discounted one.
There is always room for improvement so concentrate on being even better at what you do. The most successful business owners are always looking for ways to push the boundaries every single day. This may involve listening to the way your staff answer the phone, speak or act in front of customers and bare essentials like presentation, housekeeping and follow up.
Having a new competitor enter your space and take business away from you can be a daunting prospect. But remember, professionalism, quality and your hard-earned reputation will outlast any shoddy work every single time.
Deb Farnworth-Wood, Founder, Australian Skin Clinics Franchise