“Competition brings out the best in products and the worst in people.” A well-known quote by American businessman David Sarnoff, we come to understand that sometimes, our competition is not in the person but in the product, itself. But what we also don’t know is that beating your competition is not as complex as everyone claims it to be. With essential tools and the drive for success, it shouldn’t be a problem to come out on top of your competitor (and still keep your sanity).
Let’s say you have a lemonade business. You charge $2.50 per cup of lemonade. Now let’s make up a competitor. Your competitor, LemonADE sells their cup of lemonade for $1.00. People tend to lean more towards LemonADE because of their drastically cheap prices. But sometimes learning towards the cheapest product doesn’t get the job done. If you can afford to lower your cost to $1.00 or lower, great! But most small business can’t afford to go lower than their competitors. So is it time to throw in the towel? Of course not! What you need to do is begin to work on your product to make it a better product than that of your competitor. But how exactly do you do that? Let’s list some things that customers usually look for in a product:
> Quality – LemonADE uses lemons from the corner store. Some of the lemons that they use have brown spots and are aged, but are still squeezed for juice. Their lemonade also sometimes contains pits. You decide to kick it up a notch and go to your local farmer’s market and buy some fresh lemons. It may be pricier than the corner store, however the quality and taste is more fresh than ever before. The same goes for any other business out there trying to beat their competitor. You both sell the same product, however notice how your competitor obtains their products or services to sell. If you can find better quality products to sell, go for it! Once customers notice the difference between your lemonade and LemonADE’s lemonade, you’re keep them for good, because quality is always over price. People would rather pay the extra $1.50 for a good cup of lemonade than save $1.50 on a bland cup of lemonade. For an e-commerce website, Built With is an excellent source to use to see what your competitor uses on their own site. Almost like a cheat sheet. But legal. Check out the video created by NewBird that gives you the general idea of how to use Built With.
> Attractiveness – Yes, we’re all beautiful in our own way, but in the business world, it’s beauty that sells. Let’s be honest; if you were given a choice to pick between a 1992 Honda Civic and a 2017 BMW i8, most would probably pick the BMW. The same goes for your business. LemonADE uses regular restaurant straws for their drinks, as well do you and everyone else in the restaurant industry. But what if you were to take it to the next level and invest in colorful straws? Or better yet, invest in getting your business name branded on the cup itself? Those that purchase your lemonade will remember you by the way you stand out from LemonADE and any other chain that does everything mediocre. Let’s take Starbucks, for example. Each year, there’s articles and posts from millions from across the US, talking about the grand Starbucks Holiday Cups. Heck, even the Washington Post made an article this past November talking about them. Even if it’s once per year like Starbucks, it still drives people to talk about them and it gains them more popularity than ever before. But of course, it's not about the culture war. We know your secret, Starbucks. We know.
> Rareness – Every business has something that makes them stand out from the rest, that makes them special. Burger King has their crowns that they give out on a regular basis. Apple Inc has their unique and innovative phone designs that stand out from Android and that can be told apart from any other phone from a mile away. The Walt Disney Company has their iconic Mickey Mouse head strapped to basically anything, everything, and everyone associated with Disney. Now it’s time to think about what makes you different than anyone else. Whether it’s your logo or something you do with your product, have something that your business is known for. Make it stand out from LemonADE, something memorable that will make people come back for more. From there you can and WILL generate loyal customers for life.
The key to improve your strategy of beating your competitor is improving your service. So you have a great quality product that stands firm in the industry. Great! Now what? Now it’s time to go onto the next phase, which is improving your customer service. Not only do you have to have a quality product that sells, you also must have quality customer service that delivers 110%. But didn’t I have that already? You might ask yourself. Well, yes, and no. Of course you had a customer service strategy, however it’s time to tweak it up a bit. Building a relationship with your customers is key to gain them for life. Sure, LemonADE might serve them their lemonade with a smile, but if you really want to go the extra mile, offer them a complimentary cookie or coupon with their purchase. Make sure they have napkins in case the spill some on their shirt. All that may sound extra, but it’s what will make a customer come back again, and again, and again. Ask them for feedback on what you should improve on; what better way of gaining advise on how to improve your service than from the customer themselves?
An aspect of excellent customer service is speed. The last thing a customer needs is to wait ten minutes in line for a cup of lemonade. Time can make or break a customer, especially in the business world. If a product is taking way too long to show results, the easier way out of just to abandon it all together, and I’m sure that’s not what you want. What’s your time frame of delivering your service to a customer? Try to surpass that time frame and wow your customers with the delivery speed. Now, we say this with caution, because many employees might take this as an opportunity to slack off in the product or service, and that’s not what we’re trying to say. Always deliver the service or service in a timely fashion without taking away from the product. If something pops up and you’re unable to give the product to the customer in the time frame promised, simply explain that you’re trying to give them the best quality product that you have and that it may take some extra time as you try to go around those sudden hiccups you might have. Speed is crucial, but if it tampers with your products quality, then slow your roll. Quality > Speed.
A) Tell the customer that once they’ve fixed their attitude, you will tend to them. Screw them, you had a horrible day.B)Sternly help the customer, but give them a hint that their persistence isn’t welcome.C)Brush up on your acting skills and put your best theatrical smile on. They shouldn’t take long, right?
Most times we must suck it up and pretend to look past a customer’s attitude and serve them the same customer service you would to a regular customer. Maybe the customer was having an off day. But you still must maintain a professional stature with them in order to keep your business reputation alive. Like the saying goes, you just should kill them with kindness.
Have you ever wondered how your competition gained all that popularity? How do they get so many people to love and invest in their product and their business? Are you interested in implementing those secrets into your business and getting the same results that they do, plus some? Of course you’re interested, who wouldn’t be? The first thing that you need to do is, yes, as boring as it sounds: research research research! Find out what marketing techniques they use to gain more popularity. It’s not as hard as it sounds. Look at their advertising and analyze it. Break it down and see what methods they use to catch the readers attention. Do you remember that Sprite commercial Lebron James was in recently? Let’s take a look and a minimal breakdown at what The Coca-Cola Company did to bring in millions of viewers to go on out and drink Sprite:
Notice the reverse psychology used in this ad and the person that they chose to endorse it. It’s no wonder The Coca-Cola Company makes billions a year; their marketing strategy is genius. But does that mean you should pay someone millions to endorse your product? No! By coming up with creative strategies just like the one above, you’ll bound to have customers craving for your product, just like we’re craving for a Sprite at this very moment.
Having the right tools to beat your competitor is a now brainer. All it takes is the effort and will to surpass your current goals. Sure, your competitor may be a multi-billion dollar company, but that shouldn’t stop you from achieving your goal of being something that you competitor is now: the best. Whether it’s selling lemonade or a new computer software, your competition should never be in the way of thriving for success. Your biggest competitor is yourself. Gain the knowledge and be ready to advance to the next level. Success is right around the corner.