Competition is an essential requisite for a fair market and it's a much interesting option than monopolies will ever be. It makes things immediately more dynamic, allowing for a great series of strategic moves that would never be possible in a market of one player only.
Our complete devotion to the raw, nearly philosophical concept of competition has allowed us to be open to curiosity, and to approach the matter from a very different perspective:
The competition should inspire you and push you forward, not scare you.
As a matter of fact:
Losing a customer to a competitor simply does not happen out there in the world.
What can happen instead - if you're brave enough to apply the reality check - is that your customer proactively chooses to ditch you in favour of the competition.
This conscious choice is usually taken by the customer when:
In other words, you're not the passive player; believe it or not, the customers are. They may act like they are in the position to choose and they may feel like they are, but the actual player who retains a concrete power over their decision is indeed yourself.
Would you fancy some examples? Here they are.
Are you still thinking you're covering a passive role? You shouldn't be, because there's nothing in it for you if you deprive yourself of an intrinsic power like this: the most active players are you and your competitors, and trust us when we say they're not waiting for you to realise what they already know. They're ready to act on it and fetch the customer's approval before you do.
So, it's definitely about time you stand up and take the field.
Once you're aware that the market is full of customers waiting for you to influence their decisions for good, you can start taking active steps, with the purpose of winning and keeping customers over your competition.
Your competitors are - in most cases - a very good or decently good alternative and this is how you should react to them: when they're very good, you should learn something; when they're only decent, you should guard your advantage.
Customers and potential customers are available for any active player in the market, so it's up to you to develop the skill to win and retain the right ones and leave to the competition whoever doesn't fit.
Here's a three steps way to do it:
There's no point in wanting all the customers available, because if you're the leader of a serious company you have requirements in terms of who you'd like to serve. Your products and services can be leveraged to the fullest only by companies or people that comply with certain peculiar features.
If you think about it, even if nowadays everyone would gladly own an iPhone, Apple made its way into the industry by being very niche, and it's safe to say it's paid off impressively.
The risk of not focusing on a specific customer base is that you fill your sales pipeline with people, companies or businesses who are not meant to be there and will definitely opt out in favour of the competition at some point or another. Why waste any resource or energy on such a prospect? It's way better to know who your legitimate customers are from the start. Then, you can make everything that's in your power to retain them and keep them fulfilled and happy with their choice.
Before they're able to verify the value you offer by using your products or services, potential customers get in touch with it and form an opinion about it based on the communication you send out. On the same wavelength of this principle, existing customers vastly judge their overall experience with your company upon the relationship they can establish with you, and the relationship is greatly influenced by communication and points of contact.
Usually, the following reminder proves very valuable:
information out, reputation in.
That's why your way of communicating and the content of your communication need to be on point and well suited to what you want to transfer to your customers. They can either be satisfied and enthusiastic, or disappointed and indifferent; you'd better work towards the former option.
Market evolves, old needs decline and new needs arise. If you want to be top of mind for your customers in regard to a certain topic, then you need to make sure you catch the newer waves as well as being strong with the old ones. There's no real commitment for a customer, unless they can trust that your ability to fulfill them is long lasting and proactive in the face of change. The value you offer must be adequate now and shall be adequate tomorrow, even if it implies some variations to the state of things.
Business is fluid more than it is fixed, but it can still be very solid if you manage to adapt to change and if you regularly validate the value you provide to the market.
Ultimately, your vision requires you to evolve, and so do your customers.
None of the above would really make sense without a clear definition of what makes you different from the other players on the market.
Beating the competition or outsmarting the competition has nothing to do with being smarter, more advanced and more skilled than competitors in any aspect of the business; instead, it has everything to do with serving customers a trusted solution that you master and specialise in, in order to solve, effectively, their need.
The more unique the solution you offer, the stronger your position of course; but even when uniqueness is not an option, you must design and craft a clear identity and a few distinctive traits for your company. This way, you are worth the customer's faith and loyalty, because no matter how many competitors are available for them, they can find in you something valuable, something important that no one else can offer them in the foreseeable future.
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