Cashing in on Your Competitors’ Limitations

No one's perfect...although sometimes it's nice to think that your competition is a little more imperfect than you are. If you know what imperfections plague your competitor, you can use them to your benefit. Learn how from this article.

If you are in a highly competitive industry, it’s easy to feel bogged down when you have to fight to win any business. It can be frustrating! This is especially true if there aren’t many new customers to be won in your marketplace; then it becomes a zero sum game as all competitors vie for the same customer dollar.

There are important reasons why your customers chose you over your competition. Do you know what those reasons are? If you don’t, you should. It’s important to know your competition inside and out. In fact, the better you know them, the better your chances are of winning business.

Every company has its limitations. Sometimes they are problems (rude staff, high prices, poor products) and sometimes they have been chosen (such as a location or hours of operation, which may be inconvenient for certain customers).

Identify your competitors’ limitations by asking your customers why they choose you over them. Ask your newer customers – especially the ones that say they’ve just switched to you – why they did. Your own investigation should uncover other problems or limitations. Your investigation might be as simple as mystery shopping the competition, observing customers that go in and out of their bricks and mortar store, or doing a zip code analysis of all of your customers.

Once you know what these problems and limitations are, you can create your own systems to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes.

Additionally, here are 3 tips to keep in mind while you do this:

  • Don’t talk down about your competitors. Your customers come to you to hear how you are going to help them, not to hear how bad the competition is. Even if they complain like crazy about the competition, don’t start talking badly about them yourself!
  • Highlight the solution, not the problem, in a positive light. If your competition does inferior work, don’t talk about it. Instead, highlight how yours is better. If your competition never answers their phone, advertise that you answer the phone. If your competition uses 20 year shingles, advertise that you only use 25 year shingles. If your competition is only open from 9 – 5, advertise that you’re open from 8 – 6. If you highlight the solution, your customers will notice.
  • Don’t forget that your competition may be doing the same thing. Unfortunately, no one is perfect and that includes you. Although you might be plugging the holes in your competition’s business, they are doing the same to yours. Are you able to identify and proactively plug the holes in your own business to avoid having your competition steal your customers? Consider such factors as hours of operation, levels of customer service, location convenience, price, and guarantees. Any of these (and so much more) can be significant factors in customer dissatisfaction.

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