If you have stepped in an industry that as ample business for everyone joining the pool, then you are in good luck. However, this is mostly not the case. Many industries are hard to make a name in. Therefore, it becomes really difficult to gain customers, or if you already have them, it is hard to maintain them. It is not only about attracting new customers to the business. The greatest of worry for any business is losing customers to potential competitors.
One of the supreme methods of increasing your business in the market is stealing competitors from your competitors. The greater the market share you have, the better it is for your business. Every business in your industry will strive to gain new customers by stealing them from you. Maintaining good relations with clients is essential for any business. However, some businesses neglect their loyal customers while pursuing other techniques to grow their business. This is where they are in a weak position, and you need to take action.
If you notice that your competitor’s customers are not happy with their service or product through any means, you kick in here and implement your strategies to convince them.
However, you should keep in mind that persuading the targeted customers of rivals is not an easy task. You would have to convince them you’re your business stands out from the rest. A lot of strategies and techniques will be required on your part to achieve their trust. Proving to the customers how your service or product is better while staying in your integrity boundaries takes a lot of effort and time. For this, you should focus on your research and study your competitor thoroughly.
Let’s have a look at nine effective strategies to win over your competitor’s customers.
Work on your quality to build a reputation
Customers always lean towards better quality stuff. So, make sure that the products/services that you are selling are of the best quality for the price you ask in the market. If you follow this rule, you will automatically win the customer’s confidence.
Even if you are selling low-quality stuff, then you will realize over time that customers only buy low-quality stuff once or twice. Once they are familiar with the low quality, they will avoid you and move to alternatives. The worst thing is that they’ll spread a word about your low quality among friends and family.
However, there are customers out there who settle for low-quality stuff. Associating your company with these customers shouldn’t be your goal. Customers who look for cheap stuff are never loyal, and once they find something cheaper, they’ll shift to that.
On the brighter side, selling good quality stuff coherently will improve your image in the eyes of the customer. Once you have built a reputation for good quality, customers will stay loyal and happy. They will even recommend your friends and family or anyone else who is looking for the same product/service.
It is really hard to get out of the low-quality reputation and gain back customers. The key to winning customers using this strategy is to provide good quality consistently. If you are known for your quality, customers will stay satisfied and stick with you in the long run.
Researching your competitor
If you know what makes your customers tick, you’ll have the magic wand in hand. But to know what attracts them requires a lot of intensive research. The research goes on from your competitor’s products to strategies to your individual business research for personal improvement.
Where to begin?
Ask yourself various questions and find answers to the. For instance, figure out what your competitors are offering currently in the market. Try to get your hands-on customers’ feedback and see what they like or dislike. Figure out the problems that customers are facing at the competitor’s hands and try to find a faster solution for those problems. Ask yourself if you can give them better products/services. Or if you can make it easier for the customers to get what they desire. All of this data can be collected by researching your competitors.
As much as difficult the research part sounds, there are many tools out there that make it practically easy. With the advent of social media and other online tools, collecting data on your competitors and their customers has never been easier. Focus on online review sites and list down the areas where your competitors are lacking. For example, people give out a lot of reviews on Facebook. Going through them will give you an insight into what’s lacking. Once you know, you can offer the same customers a better solution.
Look upon yourself
Another important thing to do is to research your own customer base. It will give you a better understanding of why the customers chose to stick with you. Once you know your strengths, you can make them stronger. The key aspect that your research should put out is how you can make your product/service different. More importantly, it should reveal if the difference is actually what the customers want.
Sometimes companies go about solving problems that customers don’t need a solution for. for instance, smartphone companies making smartphones faster by the day when all customers want is long-lasting battery life.
Cut your prices slightly
Being a cheap option is not always good, but cutting prices slightly can have a major attraction to your competitor’s customers. However, the impact depends on the type of product you sell. If the products you sell are identical to your competitors’ then cutting prices will drive their customers to you as they look for the lowest price. However, if the product is not identical, then cutting prices won’t have that big of an impact.
However, customers usually relate value to price. If you lower down the price more than required, then customers can perceive the product as inferior, which is not a good sign. So, make sure you study your competitor, the prices they offer, and the market you work in. Once you have a good grip over these three things, you will know what amount to cut from the price so that customers get attracted and the brand image is not damaged. Pricing may play a role in attracting customers from your competitors, but this is not the only factor that consumers look for. Sometimes goods that are not seen as commodities aren’t thought to be better at lower prices.
Improve your customer service
Any business suffering from poor customer service has a dissatisfied and unhappy customer base. Customers are the reason you are in business. Looking after their needs and complaints should be your priority. Mediocre customer service is usually due to arrogance or negligence. If the customers don’t feel respected at the company’s end, they will definitely go and look somewhere else.
You should always keep in mind that if you are providing good quality products, keeping your prices as low as possible and work with honesty, you will have returning customers. Providing good customer service to these customers is essential. Apart from quality and price, customers return due to the respect and appreciation they receive.
It is only natural that people buy from people they get respect from. A sort of trust develops between you and them, which makes them more open to doing business with you. If you are a major corporation, then there is a lot that you can do to improve customer service, which gives you an upper hand from your competitors. Even small businesses can follow basic strategies to improve customer service.
Some simple things you can do to improve customer service are:
- Have a vibrant smile on your face while greeting them. Customers will love a warm and welcoming feeling, and it won’t cost you a single penny.
- Try to get personal but not too personal. Ask them about their life and family in general. Make them feel like you genuinely care and show interest.
- Listen to them carefully and ensure that you understand every time they have a complaint. Trying to justify or blaming won’t do you any good. Customers want to be heard, and you need to become their listening ear and keep them happy by resolving their complaints.
Interview the Competitor’s Customers
As you get close to your competitor’s customers, there will come a point where you can interview them. Ask them questions about their experience with your competitors. Make sure you don’t waste any time asking random questions. Keep the interview straight forward and brief. However, make sure it is detailed enough to get useful information out of them. Discuss with them the problems they face with your competitors and what they like or dislike.
Moreover, you can even have a discussion about what you offer and how you can provide better service. It becomes an opportunity for you to demonstrate your good quality and customer service that they are missing out on. Give them incentives like discounts or free samples.
Always remember that before you can steal your competitors’ customers, you need to know who they are, what problems they are facing with your competitors, and what they want. Without this information, you have nothing to do to attract them.
Before conducting your interviews with these customers, make sure you have done your research on them. Go through everything that is mentioned in the research section of this blog. Look for potential problems and complaints they have filed online. Once you have a target of unsatisfied customers, you can take the game from there.
Use Facebook to your advantage
Facebook has made its platform as transparent as possible. This is why you can get information about your rival businesses’ advertisements from Facebook. Whenever you see an advertisement from the competitor on Facebook, just click on the three dots situated at the top right corner. It will take you to a pop-up that says, “Why am I seeing this?” if you select that option, it will direct you to a page that will provide information about your competitor’s target regarding the post. In this way, you can make use of this information to improve your own advertisement targets.
Moreover, you can go through the following list of your competitors and get a list of most interactive customers. You can offer them better packages and services to bring them towards your brand. Another thing you can do is use Facebook’s interest-based targeting. Every time you are making Facebook advertisements, you can use it to see if the competitors are listed as an interest you want to target. Once you have selected competitors in the list, the ad will target customers who are absorbed in your competition.
Point out competitor’s weakness and your strength
If you are looking to steal your competitor’s customers or gain them in general, you need to show them why you are better and how they are not. You can do this by creating comparisons that highlight all the aspects that your company stands out in. Moreover, you can show the competitor’s weaknesses and how you excel in those areas. Place ads on platforms where your competitors have a weak base. Use their weakness to your advantage.
Showcase your strengths on social media and other platforms. Show the customers what makes you better than your competitor. Create charts on websites about how your company’s features and price packages are better than the competitors. Keep in mind their needs and wants and show them exactly how you can fulfil them all. Prove it to them how you will be able to provide a much better, faster, easier, and more economical solution to all of their problems with the competitor.
Put up ads on Social Media
Social media platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, and Gmail can be used to steal your competitor’s customers. This can be done by simply putting up ads. However, you need to follow a few steps to make the best use of all platforms. For YouTube, you need to target your competitor’s customers by collecting data about them. Look for people who search for your competitor. Put up ads for them so that when they see it, they are convinced to have a look at what you have to offer. Make sure the ad is creative and persuasive.
Moreover, Twitter is also a potential platform to steal customers. There are many software out there that let you download the followers’ list of your competitors. You can then upload these followers in the tailored audience section of your ad campaign. In simpler words, the customers will be seeing your twitter ads, which will make them lean towards you.
Gmail native ads are shown at the top of the inbox section. For this ad, you don’t require the customers’ email addresses. They can be simply targeted based on the keywords, demographics, and topics. Ads can also be directly sent to customers who receive mail from your competitor in case you have the data.
Provide fast services
Time is money, and some customers hold great importance for time. They don’t like to wait. They love instant results and deliveries. You can use this factor to your advantage by increasing your speed.
It may sound uncanny, but speeding up is one of the most effective ways to win customers over from your competitor. Big companies are often slow, and some small businesses are lazy as well. Keeping in mind their speeds, If you can provide the same product/service in lesser time, then you have the edge over winning customers.
In the age of the internet, everything moves as fast as the speed of seconds. As a result, people have become obsessed with faster results and services. Waiting for an order is a thing of the past now. Make sure you provide efficient and fast services to the customers to keep them happy and satisfied because if your speed is better than your competitor, then you have marked your place in the industry. Customers will be willing to buy from you and even recommend you to others appreciating your quick services.
The bottom line
The most powerful and effective way to use all the aforementioned strategies is to use them together. This is because they all somehow complement each other, and when they act together, their strengths are added up. Chances of winning over potential competitor’s customers rise greatly. You can build a reputation based on good quality, excellent customer service, cut your prices simultaneously, and the impact will be multiplied.
Customers have the ultimate power over your business. It is they who make it, and it is they who can break it. So, make sure you serve them right and treat them with respect and appreciation. Moreover, customers fall for logical and emotional traps. Therefore, make sure you make the best out of these two ultimate forces. Make personal ads and use good communication skills to win over their emotional and logical sides.
Shoaib Aslam is the co-founder of Pearl Chartered Accountants, a UK-based chartered accountancy firm that has multiple locations across London. They are experts in helping startups and established businesses with all aspects of growth, strategy, scaling up, accounting and tax planning.