Articles Tagged ‘Competition’

Could Competition be the Best Thing for Your Business?

Friday, February 24th, 2012

How much time do you spend paying attention to your competitors? My experience with businesses is they only pay attention when the competitor hits them between the eyes. Then it’s about reacting rather than being proactive. Sometimes it’s easier to be a follower than a leader.

Walmart was considered the worst thing to ever invade the retail market. But Walmart, whether you like them or not, opened our eyes to pricing and what was possible. Soon we were on our way to a new phase of retailers. Sure small local businesses closed, others found their niche and became very successful. The Home Depot and Lowe’s Companies have had the same effect on other industries. But many smaller companies have profited from the advertising done by these two.

If you study your competition you will develop your own niche or pout and pull up your tents and move. Success is what often kills business. Rather than realize that both success and failure are temporary they miss the winds of change. The winds are often fueled by their customer who they’ve taken for granted.

The key is to always be thinking, watching and asking questions and realize there will always be someone looking to dethrone you.

I think that Albany, New York is about to go through a supermarket renaissance. Soon we will have our own “Supermarket Square” around Everett Road and Central Avenue. It will be comprised of The Honest Weight Food Co-op, Hannaford Brothers, Price Chopper and the new kid in town starting the rumble, ShopRite. ( For those of you who are fans of Trader Joe’s and Fresh Market I don’t mean to slight you but they’re far away from ”Supermarket Square.”) Besides, without “Two Buck Chuck” Trader Joe’s is missing one of its finer elements. As Gary Vaynerchuk, who reviews wines on this popular video blog said, “There’s not a doubt in my mind that the two biggest things that have happened to the wine industry in the last 10 years are the movie Sideways and Two Buck Chuck”. Maybe Trader Joe’s will open a wine store next to their market.

Hannaford and PriceChopper have had a lock on the area for years, competing across from each other on Central Avenue. The Honest Weight Food Coop is about to move closer to “Supermarket Square.” What will happen to them remains to be seen. They have their groopies and Gustoff, the “cheese head” has amased himself quite a following. My next door neighbor told me she couldn’t have her dinner party until she consulted with Gusfoff about the cheese and the wine.

I believe Price Chopper with its “gas card” and community commitment as well as their wonderful new store left Hannaford in the dust. Funny because Hannaford started their Nature’s Place several years ago which really catered to the “natural and organic foodies” who for the first time had lots to choose from at reasonable prices. Then all of a sudden Price Chopper expanded and blew Hannaford out of the water. At this point Hannaford looks small and uninviting by comparison. Hannaford is definitely strapped by its small store and maybe by the Delhaize Group out of Belgium who isn’t familiar with the Albany market.
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Slay Your Competition: Be a Product of Your Product

Friday, May 6th, 2011

In your local market you’re the top dog. Your competition keeps you under the microscope, does what you do right after you do it, and wonders why they can’t compete with you. It’s a good place for your competition to be—in your rearview mirror. On a larger national scale the same is not the case, and some of the larger competitors may even be close to your own backyard. On this scale you’re a small fish in a big pond, fighting hard for your market share. It’s the David vs. Goliath story for every piece of business you go after. It’s tough. You know your company is good and your product or service is top notch but, you just can’t compete with the huge companies. This is where most businesses stop. They can’t make the move to the next level. But you’re so close, so don’t stop now! There are three basic concepts that will get you where you want to be.

You should know that some companies will only work with the big companies. In my previous life I was in competition with Cisco. The running joke among the salespeople for my company was that even if the prospect didn’t know what they were buying or if it would even fix their problem, as long as it was a Cisco product the prospect would not get fired buying it. Some companies have it ingrained in their minds that only big companies will be able to accommodate them. It is your job as a salesperson to ask the right questions to uncover this quickly and move on before you waste your time and resources.

The first concept that you, your business, and your salespeople need to ooze is being a product of your product. Being a product of your product means you need to eat, sleep, and drink your product or service. For example: if you are in the commercial HVAC business your office had better have perfect temperatures and efficient running equipment; if you are in the Landscaping business your own lawn and office areas should have attractive curb appeal. The business owner typically understands this but it can be lost in the sales and the customer service part of the businesses. Every part of your team must have the same passion and drive for your company that you have. Your product truly helps people, and if your salespeople don’t help prospects discover this or convey that message as strongly as you, sales may be lost.

The second concept that must be employed to tackle industry giants is to fully understand what your competition can’t and won’t do. Ask yourself these questions, and then find out if these differences between your company and your competition are important to your prospects. Don’t assume the prospect will appreciate the differences. You must ask otherwise you may appear ignorant or arrogant. Are you selling on quality, service, and price? Guess what. They are, too. If you go down the path of informing prospects you have great service, quality, and price you will walk yourself into the commodity box since your competition is saying the same thing. The only difference may be that they have the economies of scale and actually have a better price, and now you are losing opportunities over a few dollars.

The third and final step is to become a truth seeker. As a salesperson it is important to understand that some of the questions that prospects ask us are not the real question. For example, if a prospect asks, “how many people do you have in your office?” the underlying question may be “are you credible enough and large enough to do the job?” Be cautious of questions that can put your company in a box and make it easy for a prospect to disqualify you. You MUST discover the truth in a nurturing way so you can answer the question honestly and diffuse any potential bombs that may be a problem before investing more time, effort, and resources.

Every day there are opportunities that smaller companies should be winning but are not. If you are not a product of your product, you don’t truly understand what separates you from your competition. And, by not becoming a truth seeker you will find yourself finishing second,which is the most expensive place to finish. Keep in mind the above three concepts, and you will find yourself winning the additional business that allows you to grow your company. Keep in mind, it isn’t the big that eat the small it is the fast that eat the slow. How fast is your company?

Aaron Prickel
Lushin & Associates, Inc.
317-218-1913
aaron@lushin.com

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What is Your Special Skill Set?

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

SerinaKelly

You know that feeling when you buy a car, and you think it’s unique in some way – maybe the color, and then you see that same car everywhere you go? Well, recently, I have been having this feeling a lot. It seems everywhere I turn, I hear about someone who is starting some sort of relationship marketing business. It can get a bit frustrating now and then as many of these new business owners are told they should call me and ask me for advice. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love helping people out, and I understand there is a big pie – and we all can get a piece of it. But, the bottom line, it seems my competition just here locally is growing quite a bit.

When I recently talked about this to some business owners I am friends with, it became very apparent to me again that you have to both niche and figure out your special skill set. Now even though I know I have many skills – I mean this in such a way of being confidence, but not cocky – I have been told numerous times my true special skill set is genuinely caring about you and your business. I am very honest and authentic with clients, potential clients and those who ask for my advice. I’m okay with the fact that I am not the best writer or the best at social media, but I know I am one of the best at actually caring about people. And in the world of relationship marketing, that is a skill set for sure.

What’s your special skill set?

Serina Kelly
Relevate
www.getrelevate.com
serina@getrelevate.com
317-203-7740

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