You may consider stealing your competition’s customers to be a little cheeky. But, did you know General George Patton Jr.’s favorite saying is said to be, “Audacity, audacity, always audacity.” You’ve got to be audacious to get your share of the pie.
Your job is to capture their customers’ attention and then prove you’re better…and better for them.
But first, you need to understand a little bit about customer motivation.
Did you know that over half of what we do every day is nothing more than a habit – an impulsive behavior done with hardly any thought at all? A product or service that is habitually used is called a hook. A hook has four parts: a trigger, an action, a reward and an investment. If your product can satisfy a potential customer’s need and transport them through a hook’s parts faster, you may be able to get them to use your product instead of the product they are used to.
That’s why Wal-Mart has experienced such success. It allows customers to purchase just about anything – including eye glasses and insurance – all under one roof. Wal-Mart shoppers are able to save a lot of time and get their errands finished in no time at all.
People also crave an experience that is more rewarding or satisfying. If your product can elicit an unexpected feeling, you may have yet another chance to capture a customer.
Other habits regularly change with ever-evolving technology innovations. I’m old enough to remember when personal computers hit the scene. And, now look where technology has progressed. Every time something new is unveiled habits are changed in droves.
As you have probably experienced, products that are easy to start and difficult to stop are at the core of many habit-forming products. If you can figure out a way to interfere with that initial use, you may have a chance to move in.
In order to make a switch, your potential customer will need to leave his or her familiar, safe or habitual comfort zone. Because this takes a certain level of effort, the move has to be worth it. You have to be worth it.
In order to provide the impetus for them to move you’ll need to expose your differences. And, not only in a generic way. Don’t just say, “We have the best customer service,” or “Our gadgets are the best you’ll find.” Specifically proclaim the meaningful and measurable benefits you can and will provide. Tell your prospects why moving to you will be well worth it. Make sure the reasons are compelling enough. And, you’d better be ready to deliver!
Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric (GE) said. “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.” That pretty well covers it.
Before we discuss how to snag your customers competition, let’s briefly look at who are competitors are.
You can easily classify your competition into three categories: direct competitors, indirect competitors, and apathy. Direct competitors offer consumers the same solution to their problem that you do. Indirect competitors offer a different solution to the same problem. But, there are potential customers who are apathetic and aren’t seeking a solution for their problem. Those are considered to be the most challenging to market to because not only do you have to advertise to them, you have to first talk them into caring enough to even take action.
Let me give you an example. Mr. Smith has a terrible weed problem in his yard. Your company offers a DIY solution of granules to be manually spread over the yard. Your direct competitor sells a similar product. However, your indirect competitor may be a lawn service who offers a weed killing program. You see, they take care of the weeds, too, but in a different way. Now, if Mr. Smith suffered from apathy, he may not even care that he has weeds. That means before you attempt to sell him your product, you first must motivate him to care about the weeds. That’s why the competitor called apathy is the worst type to contend with.
Ok, here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Let’s discuss a few methods you can adopt to poach your competitors’ customers. Of course, you can find many, many other methods, too. And, as always take what works for you and leave the rest.
Sun Tzu, the credited author of The Art of War, stated: “It is only the enlightened ruler and the wise general who will use the highest intelligence of the army for the purposes of spying, and thereby they achieve great results.”
Before you start to actively woo your competition’s customers you have to do your homework. That means learning everything you can about not only your competition and their customers, but your customers as well. Your goal: to figure out what the needs are and how you can solve customers’ problems better, quicker and more efficiently. Research also helps to understand why your customers have chosen you.
This research isn’t terribly hard to do with social media, online tools and customer reviews. And, as obvious as it may seem, shop your competition. A few ways to do this is to call, review their website, and request marketing materials. This will help you determine exactly what they’re doing. You can observe what marketing activities are working and which are not.
Now, covertly, start to engage with their customers. You can easily do this through highly-targeted social media advertising with value-added content that speaks directly to the needs you’ve discerned with your research. Start to build trust and relationships and get them into your sales funnel. This is the time to address their needs without blatant selling.
In order to build strong relationships constantly and increasingly provide them with information that adds value and improves their lives. Eventually, you will become the company they choose. Remember relationships = trust = sales
Once you’ve sealed the deal, cement the relationship with exemplar customer service. Your customers must always know you care more than anyone else. After all, you worked hard to get them. Now, you must keep them.