Stop competition from stealing your customers

“There is only one boss: the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company, from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” – Sam Walton

It is true and anyone who is running a business knows the above quote to be true. So much competition and each one hankering behind almost the same set of customers to get them to spend their money with their company – it’s a war out there! What is also true is that many times competition might just sneak up and steal a ‘done deal’ from under your nose. There would be many reasons – better offer, attractive deals, savvier sales team – whatever the fact is that you just had a customer stolen. It is imperative that you stop competition from stealing your customers. The fact is that every business has competitors who are ever ready to move in on an upset customer and never give up the opportunity of stealing your customers including prospective ones. Follow the rules of customer service and you can be sure that the customers will spend with you. Mess up once and they are headed out the door to competition, without your competition even making the effort of stealing your customers.

Fear of competition is good if your company uses that fear to constantly better themselves. If fear gets the better you end up the loser. Be proactive and smart in your approach and watch how frustrated your competition gets when they fail at stealing your customers. All companies know how to attract new customers and even manage to keep current customers happy enough to stay with them but probably lack the skills required to keep their competitors from stealing their customers. With the rise of new age entrepreneurs and a host of start-ups, this fear is becoming even more real. Take some preventive actions that will stop competition from stealing your customers.

– Don’t be in a hurry to ‘crack the deal’. Ask relevant and open-ended questions to not just understand the need expressed by the customer but also to be able to uncover some needs that even the customer might not currently be aware of. Slow down the interaction, savor the time with the customer and show them a genuine interest in understanding them better.

– Work with the customers in envisioning their future with your company without the problems they may be currently facing. Smart sales persons are the ones who can show the customers the extent of damage the current problems can cause and that the solution lies in their company’s offerings. The sales persons need to create the undying desire in the customer to move away from their current situation. The higher the urgency the greater the desire on the customer’s part to move away and change the situation.

– The decision to buy for any customer’s company or any company usually lies with more than one person. To stop competition from stealing your customers consider getting in touch with more than one decision maker – the ones who can influence better than the first person you met from the customer’s company. Find out who else in the company could help you understand the needs and concerns from their point of view and arrange meetings with them. Proactively also gain more information about the actual problems by speaking with the people who are actually facing those issues – they will be able to provide indispensable help and insights as to what needs to be addressed. Also a smart idea would be ask them some ‘difficult’ questions for which they might not have answers. They will be more than happy to refer you to the ‘right’ person for those answers! Armed with this knowledge, arrange your meeting with the ‘decision makers’ and what you say will carry more weight since the subject of conversation will be their company’s issues. Avoid trying to sell immediately – just showing that your company knows and understands their issues would be sufficient and will encourage them to buy from you.

– Listening actively would provide the necessary knowledge required to offer the exact solutions. Solutions that match not just the current problems and issues the customer’s business is facing but also those that might mitigate some unforeseen ones. Your company’s solutions must stand out and seem stronger than what the competition is offering or has offered. Be convincing and persuasive but refrain from seeming desperate and overly pushy. Present your company’s products and services as the ideal solution to their issues and offer top class customer service and other customer testimonials. Your desire and enthusiasm to help the customer with tailor made solutions will be the differentiator between your company’s offerings and that of competition.

– Customers are always seeking to find the best and then better that. It becomes obvious then that to stop competition from stealing your customers, your company must be better than the best. Keep updated, remain informed and use this knowledge to remain one up at all times.

– Ensure that the customer is comfortable dealing with your company. There would be one point of contact with whom the customer has a comfort level but if this person were to leave the customer must have the confidence that anyone else would be as easy to interact with. And vice versa your relationship with the customer must not be just one person for the same reason.

– If your contact with the customer does leave ensure that no time is wasted in arranging a meeting with the new person. Provide the new contact with all the information but remember to ask for this person’s inputs and how best he or she would feel comfortable in carrying the relationship forward. Putting the ‘controls’ in this person’s hands at the start, will ensure that this person becomes an ally rather than someone who would wish to terminate the relationship.

– Ensure that a water-tight contract is in place with your customer. Offering bonuses or discounts will encourage them to enter in to a contract for a long period and prevent competition from sneaking in.

– Don’t beat your drum too loudly or make every new customer you acquire known to all. Your work and offerings should speak for itself and just a few customer testimonials should provide the leeway you need. Publicizing every new customer will just put your competition on the warpath by providing them with a list of ‘potential stealing material’. Keep the temptation to shout about your accomplishments at bay. If your company provides the customers consistently with what they want they will do the advertising for you by word of mouth. Your aim is to stop competition from stealing your customers and increasing your business.

Just as customers are true for any business, so is competition. No matter how much you might want it, they cannot be just ‘wished away’. What companies can do is stop competition from stealing their customers by having products and services that are top class with top of the line customer service. Continuous improvements, innovations and customization will have your competition fret and fume since their attempts at veering your customers away will fail. Actually the job of any company is only to provide the best and be the best and make the optimum use of what’s available in a way that customers never feel the need to even peek in the opposite direction.

Use the pointers and other strategies that may work for your company and with time retaining customers and making them loyal and profitable will be much easier. Use the competition’s strategies and attempts to steal your customers against the competition – be motivated and keep finding newer ways to fend them off. Fearing competition will numb your discretion – keep the fear away and channelize the apprehensions to get better. The number of competitors does not matter if your company continually strives to do its best with the needs of the customer in mind. Make it easier for customers to do business with you since in this busy world the path of least resistance is what most people choose. Stop competition from stealing your customers by simply being the best and placing your customers at the center of whatever you do.

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