How to beat your biggest competitor with your marketing
by Charlie Cook
"Everywhere I look I've got competitors, from the large
companies to other independent financial advisors like myself.
What can I do to beat the competition and get more clients?"
Martha, Financial Services, San Diego CA
In 500 B.C. Sun Tzu had the answer; "Know thyself, know thy
enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories."
In war or business the key to success is to know your
competition and understand the obstacles you need to overcome.
Do you know who your biggest competitor is? Do you know who or
what is stealing your prospects' attention and keeping them from
buying your products or services?
You may be surprised to learn that your biggest competitor isn't
the other firm in your town, nor is it the large corporation
that sells similar products and services. If you guessed these,
you'd be right that they are competitors but they're not your
Who then is your biggest competitor? Before I give you the
answer, let me tell you a story.
During his first three years of high school, my son was not the
student he could have been. All my explanations and entreaties
about needing good grades to get into college fell on deaf ears.
My spouse and I tried discussions, lectures and everything else
we thought might work, but we just didn't have his attention.
The same is true of your prospects. Your biggest competitor
isn't one of the other companies that provide the same products
Your biggest competitor and obstacle to growing you business is
your prospects' indifference.
If your prospects aren't responding to your small business
marketing, you're not capturing their
- Motivation to act
There are hundreds of thousands of people who could benefit from
what you sell. Why aren't they flocking to your door?
Why aren't you doubling your sales every year? Do you have the
same problem with your prospects' that my spouse and I had with
Halfway through his junior year, we took my son to see several
colleges that were within his reach if he just applied himself.
He liked what he saw and got excited about going to college (or
was it just the idea of getting away from home?)
We got his attention by showing him the opportunities he could
have if he improved his grades. We motivated him by giving him
the information he needed to make the decision to work harder in
school. The result? His grades went from mediocre to
You can overcome your prospects' indifference too by giving them
the information they want in your marketing. When you do their
interest and motivation will soar.
Use these six ways to overcome your prospects'
1. Don't just shout your name or your company's name; tell your
prospects how you can help them.
2. Before your prospects get distracted by another web site,
another ad, or another task, grab their interest by making them
curious about how much better off they'll be with your product
or service. In language your prospect would use, map out their
concerns and tempt them with the solution you provide.
3. Your prospects want a solution. Use your small business
marketing to demonstrate you can solve their problem. Giving
away tips, ideas or a test drive is one way to earn their
loyalty and their business.
4. You want your prospects to trust you, so make sure they see
and read great comments from your satisfied clients.
Place testimonials throughout your marketing so your prospects
can't miss them.
5. Give your prospects a compelling reason to read or hear your
marketing message, to contact you, and to buy from you today. If
it's possible to put off a decision, most people will. Include
something in your marketing that will motivate your prospects to
act right away, whether it's an offer too good to refuse, or a
time limit on an offer or both.
6. You wouldn't expect a stranger to entrust you with managing
their family fortune the first time they've read your name. Use
your marketing to prompt them to email you, to call you, to get
to know you and to trust you. Then help them to make a
commitment even if it is for a first meeting or an entry-level
product or service.
Your biggest marketing battle is to overcome your prospects'
indifference. Accomplish this, and you'll attract all the
clients you want. Do this, and you'll be so far out in front you
won't need to worry about the competition.
2006 © In Mind Communications, LLC. All rights reserved.
The author, Charlie Cook, helps, small business owners and
marketing professionals attract more clients and be more
successful. Sign up to receive the Small Business Marketing
Ideas eBook, '7 Steps to get more clients and grow your
business' at www.marketingforsuccess.com