Beating your competition is the essence of good marketing and equates the success of one business over another. Beating out the competition doesn’t necessarily mean offering a lower price than the other guys; it can mean a wide variety of different things that will set your company apart from the rest. You will likely find your best methods to win over customers are typically free and fairly simple. Here are 4 sure-fire ways to beat out the competition.
1. Provide Better Service
Believe it or not, to consumers, customer service out ranks a slightly lower price on the same product or service elsewhere. Think about the myriad of local and smaller businesses thriving in direct competition with mega-chains such as Wal-Mart. If the most important factor consumers consider when purchasing an item or service, the world would be run by one huge Wal-Mart because their prices are so low.
Customer service is the chief advantage to any small or medium sized business. Having the ability to properly equip and train staff to provide the best possible service to every customer who walks in the door or calls will set you in a whole different tier than the completely impersonal automated competitor companies. Having fair policies and transparent transactions will also work to build customer trust and loyalty.
2. Offer Exclusivity
There are so many different ways that a small company can offer exclusive rights to venders as an incentive to sell their product. Typically these exclusivity rights are great to offer if your company has a unique product and a low budget to promote that item. Consider offering a large chain retailer like Costco or Target the exclusive rights to sell your product in all of their stores. Though you’re limiting where buyers can find your product, in return you are receiving a vast spectrum of advertising, exposure and credibility.
Another way to handle exclusivity is to extend a given period of time, say 60 days, to an individual retailer such as Amazon.com to sell your product. They will likely require a performance clause to assure the popularity of your product. In return, Amazon.com may offer free or discounted advertising on their site or special sales to promote your product on their dime.
3. Be Your Own Brand
Frequently smaller companies are forced to become wholesalers in order to compete in this global market. Selling your product under the name of another company is certainly a way to assure sales and immediate brand recognition (of the other company), but it also means that your company is receiving zero credit for the product.
If possible, attempt to keep your product your own and maintain your own brand. Building a brand means that you retain much more control over the selling of your product and are under far less stress to maintain inventory or have to wait for payment delays, which are typical for many wholesalers.
4. Offer Special Terms
Special offers are a great way to keep product moving and ensuring a small company will have continuous cash flow. Extending an offer to discount purchases above a certain volume serves as an incentive for buyers to purchase more, which means cash in the bank much more quickly.
Additionally, if a business finds itself with decent profit margins but is frequently dealing with cash flow issues, offering discounts for quick payments on invoices or electing an auto-pay option will certainly bring money to the table more quickly. If you find yourself in a cyclical industry, offering discounts during lag periods to fill cash flow needs in many cases is well worth the discount slashed off the books.
Competition is fierce out there and requires the small guys to come up with ways to stay in the game and beat out the bigger retailers. Learning tricks to stay in that game are so critical in leveling the playing field of this problematic global economy full of others willing to sell a similar product for less.
Matthew Toren is an Award Winning Author, Serial Entrepreneur, and Investor. He Co-Founded YoungEntrepreneur.com along with his brother Adam. Matthew is co-author of the newly released book: Small Business, Big Vision: “Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right” and also co-author of Kidpreneurs.