When I asked “What would they do to put you out of business?“, you probably wondered who “they” are. “They” might be someone whose expertise in another market tells them yours is ripe for the taking. “They” might be a competitor you already have, or someone new to the market who doesn’t know any better. Remember when you didn’t know any better? You’re still here.
Who they are really doesn’t matter. What they do & why… that’s what matters. How would they price, market, sell, deliver, service, & communicate?
You might expect that they’d come in with lower pricing. While it depends a good deal on your market, I wouldn’t be surprised to find them going higher and establishing a market segment above yours, leaving you with what remains.
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” – Ben Franklin
Companies with plenty of margin can afford to spend more on marketing, delivery and service. If you were starting over today, would you price the same way, or differently? Why? Why not?
Ultimately, marketing is about exchanging cash for a (hopefully predictable and consistent) number of leads who turn into customers. If your marketing efforts spend $27.50 to get a lead, would you rather your leads turn into customers who spend $2750 or $27500 over their lifetime as your customer?
Thinking back to what you do now, can you make that choice? Can a new entrant to your market? (and if so, again… can you make that choice?)
Looking at it a different way…. If your new competitor can afford to pay two or three or ten times what you can afford for leads, who will likely end up with more leads and more ability to choose select the best leads?
If you were starting over, how would you market differently? Would you choose a different customer to focus on?
Thinking about how you and your market peers sell now, how would an upstart in your market do it differently… and better? What steps would they add, subtract, or embellish? Would they listen more and talk less? Would they speak of the needs, wants, concerns and worries of their prospects? Would they parrot features and speak in bullet points, while lamenting about the need to meet their quota?
If you were starting over, would you sell differently? How so? If not, why not?
Do you deliver and/or deploy for your customers today? What would a noob to your market do? Would they prepare differently? Tool up differently? Deploy differently? Train the customer’s team differently, more, or less? Would they follow up more or differently than they do now after delivery and deployment is complete? What would someone do differently than you if they come from a high attention to details market?
If you were starting over, how would delivery and deployment look?
Almost everyone brags about their service. It’s rarely as good, unique or unusual as they think. People talk about under-commit and over-deliver, but finding it in the wild is rare. Your service rarely feels like you’d want it to feel if you were in that client’s situation.
If you were starting over, how would your client’s service experience look and feel?
Through every step of sales, marketing, delivery and service, there are opportunities to set expectations and over-communicate. There are opportunities every day to take away the doubt, lack of clarity, wonder about what’s going to happen next. There are opportunities to pick up the phone instead of sending an email, or to drop by instead of picking up the phone.
If you were starting over, how would you communicate?
What would “they” do?
They’d do what you refuse to do. What you’re afraid to do or haven’t thought of. They’ll do what you don’t feel like doing or don’t think is necessary. They’d do what turns customers into clients who wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else.
More than likely, you know what these things are. Knowing isn’t enough. Answers are easy to come by. Execution of it is another thing entirely.
Will you wait until the new kid on the block forces you to mimic their behavior, or will your behavior set the bar so high that no one will dare enter your market? All those things you’d do if you were starting over can be started when you decide to do them.
The choice is yours.
Photo by MDGovpics