Home Articles Keep your friends close and your competitors even closer

Keep your friends close and your competitors even closer

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One day you’re walking along then suddenly — SMACK something hits you in the back of the head. You turn with surprise to see that it’s not your partner but in fact a competitor!

They’ve taken your market share and your A+ clients. What do you do? Do you hit back, admit defeat or key their car?

I say, ‘bring it on’! Here’s why!

“Commitment” — A word that makes most men quiver in their boots

It can cost you thousands of dollars to convert a new client. You simply can’t afford to allow all the time and money spent on telephone calls, print materials, website maintenance/development, staff time, your time and advertising costs to go to waste. If you have to fight to keep them and they’re worth it, you should.

As if you didn’t already know, a committed relationship with ongoing clients can be your saviour. Now it is easier to achieve than ever before due to the application of social media.

Start by utilising Facebook groups in which your consumers can engage with your company on an emotional level. Do this sooner rather than later. Consumers tend to spend more with individuals they have an affinity for. Provide an emotional connection with them as much as possible. This includes establishing a rapport online in which they feel free to express their opinions openly and honestly about matters within your industry. Get the inside information and utilise it in your marketing campaigns to position yourself against your competitors.

But, whatever you do, get online. It doesn’t take an expert to see that some socialites on Facebook have more friends than you have clients on your database. We are all competing for attention. Instigate these connections online and become a key influencer in trends. Establish a committed relationship with your clients and they’ll never leave you.

Hit back with personality

Personal branding has been around for years, however, it is only recently that it is truly coming to the forefront of marketing. As companies slowly start to increase their marketing budgets after a downturn in the economy, the one element of your business that no one else can regurgitate and that doesn’t cost a fortune is the brand value of the personalities within it.

Personal branding is self-expression amplified to influence and command attention. Encourage these personalities to come out within your business to better connect with your market. Become the “It” girl or guy that people go to for information because you’re liked, easy to be around, look the part and are consistently interested in other people.

Your competitors can’t compete with you or your staff’s unique personalities. In many industries it is the edge needed to win over new clients and reinforce existing relationships. Don’t let it sit in your arsenal of weaponry — you’ve got to use it. Your staff’s brand value is enormous when competing for new clients.

Spark a controversial conversation and drive clients to your door

Oprah, Richard Branson and Bill Gates didn’t become millionaires by keeping their mouths shut. Each of them has caused substantial controversy over their lifetimes, which has added to their success. When going head-to-head with your competitors, it is certainly not the time to fade into the background.

One way to stand out is to become a commentator within your industry. Have an opinion and find platforms on which you can express it. Target key topics close to your consumers’ hearts that causes them great pain and discomfort and find out why on a deeper emotional level.

Bridge the gap from how they are feeling to being accepted in what they’re feeling. You’ll not only have them rushing to your door because you provide a safe environment for open discussion, you’ll also have the attention of the media if you play your cards right. This also presents an added advantage of providing the impetus for viral conversations to begin.

Blogging is a fantastic platform to begin with. Do it on a regular basis and continually contribute to the conversations on other sites. Be seen on and offline and be sure to stand for something. Assess your industry and its view points and slowly begin to push buttons, observe the reactions and then push a little more. Thought provoking conversations draw your consumer’s attention (and instigate change within an individual/society) and then once you’ve got it make sure you back it up with depth of knowledge.

How to unlearn the art of fitting in — it’s costing you thousands!

Since a young age we’ve been groomed to fit in, which is unfortunate because it is your job to stick out like a sore thumb. If you’re not advertising to stand out, you need to improve your marketing campaigns. It is commonplace in business to look at what your competitors are doing and do your own carefully crafted version of that. Excuse me. I just threw up in my mouth a little bit. There is nothing unique about reflecting the messages within your industry.

The only businesses that spark trends and subsequently benefit from them are the ones that are willing to take risks. Yes, you may be criticised and yes others may wonder what the hell you are doing, but then again look at how they ridiculed Donald Trump in his early days. Zig while others zag and you will uncover a following of profitable clients.

A beer and a bag of crisps: Why the relationship will never go out of fashion

The one thing that will never go out of fashion is that of the relationship. It is what binds us together or that keeps us apart. Your relationships with your clients are paramount when you’re fighting for market share. Touch base with each of them at a minimum of every three months, any longer and they’re not your client. Look at your “A class” clients and take them out to lunch to say thank you.

One of my best clients and I catch up regularly for beer and a bag of crisps (it must be the farm boy in me).You can’t buy long-term relationships such as these — you must earn them through time and respect. Take the time and be rewarded financially and emotionally.

Can you bring it?!

The one simple answer for competing successfully with your competitors is to be daring enough to stand out in an industry of lookalikes. Keep your eye on them and observe their challenges and successes. However, never try to imitate them. Look like everyone else and no one will notice you. It’s time to make some noise. It isn’t a matter of wanting to do it. It is out of necessity for the longevity of your business.

Do you really have what it takes to compete successfully against your competition? Keep your friends close and your competitors even closer and you may experience more success than you can imagine.

Ben Angel is the author of the brand new controversial book, ‘Sleeping Your Way to The Top in Business – The Ultimate Guide to Attracting & Seducing More Customers.’ Grab your copy today by visiting www.benangel.com.au

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