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“Stealing customers” might seem a little too underhanded or unethical, but let’s be honest: if a customer came to you from another company, you probably wouldn’t demand that they remain loyal to your competitor. You’re happy to take business from your competitor and your competitor is happy to take business from you.
If you’re looking to land new customers, how can you do it? Business owners can get pretty crafty so let’s take a look at a few.
Learn how they are getting their customers
If you want to woo your competitors’ customers, you need to understand how they are acquiring them. How and were are they marketing? What kind of pitches are they using? What else are they doing that you’re not doing? Do a competitive analysis to gather that information for your top competitors.
Keep in touch with the rumor mill
It’s a rumor mill because not everything you hear is true but there’s a lot to be learned from the talkers in your industry. Attend industry and community events and talk to your colleagues in the industry. You’re likely to learn valuable information like key people leaving, new initiatives they’re trying, or customers who are unhappy with them.
Of course, when you’re talking to the rumor mill, stay closed-lipped about what you’re doing. If they’ll talk to you about others, they’ll talk to others about you, right?
SEE ALSO: How to Outsmart the Competition
Check their LinkedIn Profile
If you know the key people in your competitor’s business, head to their LinkedIn profile. You’re likely to find a significant portion of their customer base or other industry contacts important to you. Reach out to those people and make them contacts as well. Then, let them know why you’re better.
Other Social Media Strategies
First Facebook. Go to your competitor’s page, and look at who is commenting and sharing their posts. Follow those people and they may start following you, too.
Do the same on Twitter. Once you have them listening, you can employ social media strategy to present your value proposition.
Offer a discount to anyone who brings in a competitor’s ad newspaper ad or gives you the competitor’s product literature.
Test staying open on days or during hours your competitors are closed. Run Internet remarketing campaigns to show your ads to potential customers after they’ve left a competitor’s site. To borrow a cliché, think outside the box.
Make it Personal
You know that once you have a loyal customer, they don’t get all of the same courting that they did when they were new. They should, but you always have to set your sights on new customers while keeping the current ones happy.
Everybody likes to be treated like royalty. If you know somebody who is doing business with your competitor, give them the star treatment. Offer a service for free, take them to lunch, build a relationship, and make them feel like a VIP if they have any dealings with your company. Your competitor likely isn’t doing that anymore. Now is your chance.
ALWAYS Put Your Differences on Display
Which companies get the most business? The ones that stand out. Companies that show potential customers how they’re different and better get the business while the ones who try to blend in are left behind.
Your business has to be built on stand out characteristics. Simply saying, “we value our customers” or “we’re committed to the highest quality” may make for good marketing fluff but it’s not going to win customers. Be specific with how you’re different and you’ll take customers from your competitors.
SEE ALSO: What’s Your Competitive Advantage?
Be Willing to Spend Money
Look at a company like T-Mobile who is willing to pay a customer’s early termination fee in order to take customers from its competitors. What can you offer a customer to get them to jump ship? It’s going to cost you some money but if they become your customer, it’s money well spent.
Other Quick Tips
If you’re in a business that requires you to quote jobs, offer a discount if the person shows you a quote from your competitor for the same job.
Offer a discount for anybody currently using a competitor’s product or service.
Did you hear through the rumor mill that your competitor did a job that a customer didn’t like? Offer to fix it for them at a discount.
You have to spend money to make money. Attracting new customers who are doing business with your competitor comes down to offering a better deal or experience than what they’re currently receiving and that will cost money at the beginning. However, this is a one or two-time cost. Some will not become loyal customers but for those who do, the small financial outlay will be well worth the cost.
© 2014 Attard Communications, Inc., DBA Business Know-How®. May not be reproduced, reprinted or redistributed without written permission.
Tim Parker is the Founder and President of The Web Group, a full service IT firm focusing on security and compliance based in Tampa, Florida. In the little spare time he has, Tim enjoys writing financial articles for major websites focusing on entrepreneurship, investing, personal finance, and retirement.