Your 3 Sources of Competition (And How to Beat ‘Em)

Your competition isn’t just the business across town that sells similar items as your business. There are other types of competitors your business faces that aren’t quite so obvious. Find out what they are, and how to beat all of them, here. 

What’s keeping qualified customers from buying from you? If you said “the competition” you’re probably right. But your competition may not be who or what you think it is. Freelance copywriter and marketing consultant Bob Bly said, “You do not have a monopoly on solving the customer’s problem. He has many options.”

Those options are your competition.

To win the sale, you need to identify what those competing customer options are before you can develop ways to position your product or service in a way that will make customers see you as the preferred option.   

3 Powerful Types of Competitors to Your Business

Even if your product or service is the best around, you have competitors. That’s because when it comes to making a purchase, a customer has several choices: 

1. Do nothings:

Most business owners don’t consider this option. Yet, inaction is often the easiest course for your prospective customers to take. Indecision, procrastination, and the human nature to maintain the status quo are powerful forces. According to Forbes, “About 60 percent of qualified leads fall by the wayside because the customer doesn’t find value in purchasing something new and therefore, they decide to forgo any type of change.”

2. DIY’ers:

More often than you may think, prospective customers choose to just do it themselves. Often the customer can do as good a job as you can … or at least thinks he can. Photographers compete against smartphones with cameras. Lawn care companies compete with homeowners with lawnmowers. The same thing goes for stock brokers, travel agents, and restaurant owners. Keep in mind that when people opt to go it alone, it’s not always about saving money.

3. Other companies in your market:

All the companies who offer the same or similar products in your market are your direct competitors. You’re also up against indirect competitors. These companies’ products or services are not the same as yours, but can still meet your customer’s needs. For example, even though a pizzeria and a burger joint sell different food items, they’re both targeting hungry people. That makes them competitors. 

How to Beat Your Competition

So, now that you know who your competition is, how do you go toe-to-toe with them and emerge victorious? Every situation is unique but here are some ideas that can help you win.

  • The Do Nothings: When a potential customer decides to do nothing, you’ll have to convince them to take action. A good approach is to help them realize they’re unsatisfied with their current situation. Make them aware of their problem and your ability to solve it. Then you can gradually work on persuading them to take action. Since these people aren’t actively trying to solve their problem, you don’t want to hard sell them. Keep the focus on them and their problem.  According to the Harvard Business Review, “there tends to be a higher no-decision rate where product differentiation is extremely small” so when you do talk about your product, make it clear how you solve the problem better than your competition.   
  • The DIYers:  These people understand their problem/situation. They are also opting to take care of it themselves. If you want them to buy from you, highlight the negative consequences if they try to solve the problem themselves. Show how they can get the result they want in less time or for less money by letting you do it. For example, if solving the problem is time-consuming, stress how letting you handle it will give them more leisure time. If it’s work that needs special equipment, tools, or skills, talk about how getting the work done professionally saves money and prevents future problems.
  • Other companies in your market: To compete with companies that offer the same or similar products in your market, you need better marketing. What sets you apart from your competitors? Whatever it is, let potential customers know. If you don’t want to compete on price, offer better customer service. Perhaps the most important tip for beating the competition is to get really good at two things. Know your competition and know your customers. When you know who your competitors are, what they offer, and how much they charge you can find ways to stand out. When you know what your customers want and need you can find ways to deliver that better than everyone else.

Remember, your prospects always have three choices and you are the last: to do nothing, to do it themselves, or to use you. Focus on being the first choice every time.

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