Unlikely Competitors… Part IV


Competition that is right out front is pretty easy to identify. These are other service businesses that provide similar solutions to exactly the same challenges that we address with our clients.

For better or worse, most businesses have developed tactics as part of their marketing plan to compete with them.

Unfortunately, they often fail to redraw the lines… allowing their competitors to define both the issues and the range of services.

This speeds the process of commoditization, and sets up brutal price battles that gut their profits (as well as their joy).


Then there is the competition that is not so obvious. The very clients we seek to serve can become our competitors as they fulfill their own needs with in-house staff.

Assuming that we are very good at what we do… these customers can often represent an ideal and mutually beneficial relationship.

They understand the necessity of having the work done, yet often struggle with significant inefficiencies with their current staff or processes. Remember the example from yesterday of the full-time jeweler who doubles as an occasional accountant.

As professionals, we can greatly improve their ROI, while maintaining reasonable margins for our business as well.


But there is another form of competition that we face as owners and marketers of service businesses, and for which we must prepare in our marketing plans.

This is the customer who is deciding to do nothing at all. They are not using another service… and they are not handling it themselves. They are stuck… they are waiting. Consciously or not, in the eyes of the prospect it is a competitive alternative to our, or another, solution.

Interestingly, these also represent a potentially ideal relationship… but we must first understand, through a process of uncovery, what has motivated (or de-motivated) them to take a position of inaction.

In defining the attributes of this potential customer in your marketing plan, provide for the most common traits of fear, doubt, and unbelief that often lock small business owners in their tracks. At a minimum, be sure to come to a mutual understanding of:

1) The best, average, and worst-case scenarios they can expect if they move forward.
2) The best, average, and worst-case scenarios they can expect if they choose to remain static.
3) Several low-barrier options that allow them to get started with you, while at the same time minimizing their financial risk.


I look forward to hearing from you.


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