By Charles Alvarez , Contributor, the Price of Business Show.* Sponsored
Once upon a time, there was a small furniture retailer in a large city who suddenly found himself squeezed between two giant multistory furniture stores going up on either side of his small building. These companies had vastly more resources and a greater selection of furniture at discount prices. The two companies raced to finish their stores, and both held their grand openings in the same week.
He knew he could not compete with their huge advertising budgets for radio, television, and newspaper, so he decided to use his creativity instead. With the huge furniture stores on either side of his building, right above his front doors, he put up a large sign that said “Main Entrance.”
What can you do to counter the strengths of your competitors? How can you use deception, surprise, speed, and maneuver to create perceptions of unique added value in the minds of your customers? What can you do to offset the perceived competitive advantage of the companies that are outselling you in the market today?
Look at Yourself Honestly
Success in a competitive market is only possible when you introduce product or service innovations in a way, and at a time and place, that your competition does not expect. To plan, prepare, and use surprise, deception, and speed effectively to achieve business success, you must continually reevaluate and review your offerings and your activities relative to what other companies are doing in the same market.
Be completely honest with yourself. What are your major weaknesses or vulnerabilities relative to your competitors? Remember, no product or service is perfect, including yours. Where do you get the greatest number of complaints? What reasons do your customers give you for not buying your product or service today? And most importantly, what could you do to offset or neutralize your vulnerabilities?
Practice this exercise regularly. Complete the sentence: “We could sell twice as much if it weren’t for . . .”
Write down every reason or objection that your customers give you for not buying more of your products or services or for buying from your competitors instead of you. What could you do to neutralize, minimize, or downplay your competitors’ strengths or to compensate for your own vulnerabilities?
An excellent exercise you can practice is to imagine that you were starting your business or your sales career over again today. If you could create your business or sales career exactly the way you wanted it, without any obstacles or limitations, what would it look like?
Define your ideal customers. What would you have to do to get more of them? How would you have to change your product or service offerings so that you could dominate your market? What additional markets could you go into? What additional distribution channels could you use? How could you change or modify your product or service offerings to make them more attractive to more people?
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