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Be The Tie-Breaker

Winning against the competition

I have the privilege of facilitating a round-table discussion for my local Chamber of Commerce. It’s a great opportunity to participate in a conversation about ways to market better, work smarter, and increase sales. If you are a small business owner, you know how difficult it can be, and learning from peers is a great way to get new ideas, as well as learn what not to do!

The most recent discussion dealt with competitive situations and how to come out ahead. Your customers and clients have choices available to them, good alternatives to what you may offer. While price is normally in play, a profitable business can’t always win on price alone. In fact, you shouldn’t! The last thing you want is a customer base you had to ‘purchase’ with low prices, for they will probably leave you for the same reason!

Your customers are asking “Why should I do business with you?” Whether they come right out and say it or not, you should already know the answer, and be prepared to offer them what will tip the scales in your favor.  Unless you want to win on price, you have to give your customer a reason to select you.

The discussion group came up with several ways to ‘be the tie-breaker’ in the minds of their customers. The most important of these was around relationship. We buy from those we like, know and trust, so why not be likeable, known, and trustworthy? Every buying decision comes with inherent risk, and that risk goes down when your customers have confidence in you.

Ever made a purchase that ended up being more hassle than it was worth? I’m sure you have several examples in your head right now! Why not strive to be the hassle-free choice? Examine how you deal with your customers and clients, with the goal of making your processes as customer-friendly as possible. Identify areas where the customer could be confused or frustrated, and fix it. Design your process through the eyes of the customer first.

Price may be a factor, but what a customer is really wanting is good value. They fight over price because they think what you are offering isn’t worth what you are asking. It’s your job to overcome that objection by demonstrating real value. Include more than is expected, and tell them about it! Let them know when you offer something extra, and show them what that means to them in dollars and cents. If you save them money, be ready to educate them on how you do it.

Speed can be a tie-breaker as well. Quick response time, consistently delivering what was promised, and getting back to customers who have questions or concerns is crucial. A great product doesn’t mean much when the provider doesn’t actively stand behind it. Rapid reaction to social media posts, requests for billing clarification, and product returns or refunds all say something about your company. It says “I care about you, I value your business, and I am paying attention to you when you need help”.

These are just a few of the ideas that came out of the discussion group. There are certainly others. What makes your company the ‘tie-breaker’?   How do you answer the question ‘Why should I choose you?’