How to Deal with Competition in Your Industry?

Every business has competition — both directly and indirectly. So, how should you deal with competition in your industry?

This is a hot discussion in many social media groups. Recently, I noticed a thread on Alignable on this very question that garnered over 1,100 comments. Many people joined the bandwagon that you shouldn’t worry about competition and just focus on making your customer happy.

I agree and disagree.

I’ll also throw in some pushback because I don’t believe that’s enough.

In my opinion there are several ways you can and should deal with your competition. As a business owner you need to know how you’re different than your competitors in order for you to communicate that effectively.

Otherwise, your would be customers won’t know what the difference is between picking you or 20 other competitive businesses like yours. And, when that happens, people often make their decisions based on superficial reasons.

So, my advice is:

#1. Learn from your competitors.

Look for new business opportunities as you study your competitors. You can learn a lot about buying trends and buyer behavior by looking at the offerings, pricing, messaging and marketing tactics your competitors are doing.
What can you improve or add to up level your business?

Think about Blockbusters. They apparently did not take this approach to their competition to notice that buying behavior did indeed change. Consumers now preferred having instant access to viewing movies the way that Netflix offered.

If Blockbusters added that to their service offerings they could have still been in the game with Netflix as well as new players on the market like Amazon, YouTube Red and others.

So, what if you’re competing with the big box stores? How can you compete with the “big boys?” This is a big topic, but one tip for this is…

#2. Don’t believe you can’t compete with the big box stores.

You may not do the same volume of business they are able to do nationally, but you can carve out a loyal niche market and still grow a thriving local business.

Find a key area that you can differentiate from the big box stores. There’s more I can say on how you can stand out and differentiate here.

#3. Consider which competitors could actually make great potential joint venture / affiliate partners.

Perhaps your business really excels at one or two lines of service and some other services you offer might be the cause 80% of your headaches. Why not team up with another business you can cross promote as strategic referral partners. That way, you can focus on your low maintenance services and eliminate a lot of unnecessary headaches along the way.

#4. Use your competitors as an asset, not as a liability.

If you find yourself feeling discouraged and defeated by your competition, then they become a liability. But, if you learn how to use your competitors to help you define your WOW factor, then they become an asset to your business.

You want to nail down your one core message that communicates your overall WOW factor, but you can have multiple selling points when it comes to communicating the differences between a specific product or service that you and your competitors offer.

Often the best way to study your competitive options is to become one of their customers.  It’s difficult to develop your unique value proposition without knowing exactly what it’s like to do business with some of your competitors, so do your due diligence on studying your competitors from a buyer’s perspective.

Whenever I have done this I often find critical details you just don’t discover simply from reading your competitors’ web pages and marketing materials.

I’ll give you an example of how I applied these same tips in defining the WOW factor for one of my own specific service offerings called Power Biz Academy.

Power Biz Academy is an affordable solution for busy entrepreneurs who wants to focus on attracting more clients, but may not be ready yet for 1-on-1 coaching.

Members receive weekly group coaching with me, (not with a junior associate), plus weekly video training and lots of downloadable templates and cheat sheets to help you implement the key actions that will move the needle in growing your business.

The core WOW factor that I could use to stand out when choosing an online marketing coaching program is this:

Experience Matters. Members receive the added unfair advantage of deeper insights I’m able to offer from my unique background and experience having started, turn keyed and sold 3 other businesses since 1992. It’s hard to get that from facilitator/coach who simply went through a “coach training” program.

As far as the comparing other online business coaching programs, we all offer similar deliverables like:

  • Access to on demand video training on sales and marketing strategies
  • Making content accessible from mobile and laptop
  • Providing downloadable cheat sheets, templates and action plan checklists
  • Offering weekly group coaching calls for members to ask questions and get coached.

However, only by studying other competitive solutions from a buyer’s perspective I was able to discover the #1 differentiating selling point that proved to be the key missing ingredient in helping my members achieve their desired transformation.

Want to know what that is?

(drum roll please …..)

When you join a lot of the other competitive options, the group coaching might sound like the same feature, but you’re often on the call with 50, 100, 200+ other people. (Yikes!) … which by the way, I’ve also never read a competitors’ sales page point out this important detail when presenting their online coaching solutions.

Being on a group coaching call with 50+ other people means you’ll be hard pressed to get your turn and attention. You could have a burning question or desperately want to get coached on something, but end up having to wait weeks or months to get your turn. When you’re having a problem in your business however, timeliness matters.

So, when I explain that I limit enrollment in my program to small groups of 6-12 members, people immediately see the value and the massive difference this level of personal attention would make on their business. So now, their decision isn’t based on silly, superficial things like the colors on my website.

Instead, they’re making smart decisions between whether they want a coach who was only “trained” in business vs a coach with 25 yrs of entrepreneur background?

Do they want individualized attention on weekly group coaching calls or do they want to risk never getting coached or their questions answered?

#5. Don’t stress or obsess over your competition.

Although we did talk a lot about how to deal with competition in your industry, you want to do the suggested tactics above without stressing or obsessing over your competition.

Don’t forget you have existing and past customers who already love you and your company. Focus on how you can make your customers even happier.

QUESTION: What’s your opinion on this subject? Share your comments below.

How to Create Right Action Plans

How do you know whether or not you created the right action plans that will help you achieve your business goals most effectively? That’s this week’s question submitted by Stacy from Atlanta, GA.

Reality is, if you’re pursuing a new goal that you’ve never achieved before, you just won’t know what you don’t know.
You could certainly move forward on pure intuition while trying to piece together bits of tips from various free content you’ve found. However, I don’t recommend doing that.

Trial and error always ends up being way more time consuming. And for most people, it usually leads to making costly mistakes.  It’s an age old truth.


There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”  Proverbs 14:12 

 

The risk of prolonged lack of progress and costly mistakes, for many people leads them to give up which means the death of their dreams.

I don’t want to see “death of a dream” happen to you. So, let’s dive right into this week’s episode to help you:

Create Right Action Plans to Achieve Your Business Goals

 

 

 

 

 

Top 10 LinkedIn Marketing Tips

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for marketing your business, skills and experience, and an incredible way of finding new leads. These top 10 LinkedIn marketing tips are designed to dramatically boost your LinkedIn profile, and help you to develop an authoritative and effective LinkedIn presence!

10. Join Industry-Relevant Groups

If you’re hunting for leads, LinkedIn groups should be your first port of call. These groups bring together all the thought-leaders, experts and potential leads from each industry. By joining these groups, you gain access to some of the key players in your industry – perfect for marketing your services and ability.

9. Participate in Group Discussions

There’s no better way to market yourself than by proving your expertise. By responding to relevant discussions and questions, LinkedIn marketing tips like this allows you to showcase your knowledge to potential leads – and prove why you’d be the perfect business owner to work with!

8. Share third-party content

Nobody likes arrogance – and exclusively sharing your own self-promotional content is tantamount to just that. Be sure to regularly share valuable content from other people in your industry – especially articles and posts from your LinkedIn connections!

7. Endorse your connections

LinkedIn allows you to list your top skills and expertise – perfect for showcasing your professional ability, and attracting new clients. To add extra legitimacy to your skills, it helps to have people endorse you – and the best way to do this is by endorsing other people. Endorse their top-rated skills, and they’re likely to return the favor.

6. Complete 100% of your profile

Once you’ve made a connection with a potential lead, your profile is the first page they’ll see. By completing every aspect of your LinkedIn profile, you’ll be able to showcase your experience, portfolio, skills, current projects and much more. This LinkedIn marketing tip may seem like common-sense – but many people overlook it, and sell themselves short as a result.

5. Connect with people you already know

Colleagues and friends are 70% more likely to engage with your content than other people; allowing you to boost the reach and engagement of your posts quickly and easily. The more popular a post, the more traffic and leads it will generate – so take advantage of these easy LinkedIn marketing tips now!

4. Add a LinkedIn button to your website

If your website regularly receives traffic, adding a Connect button to your site can have a huge impact on your LinkedIn connections. This is one of the quickest and easiest LinkedIn marketing tips around; and it could send your connections and influence sky-high in a matter of days.

3. Write recommendations for people you know

Like endorsements, recommendations allow you to vouch for a connection’s skills. If you’ve worked with a connection, or have experience of their skills, take the time to write an honest recommendation. You’re likely to attract a reciprocal recommendation, and improve your LinkedIn reputation and marketing.

2. Optimize your profile for SEO

Your LinkedIn page ranks in search engines like any other – and by boosting its SEO, you can greatly improve your marketing efforts. Add keyword-rich phrases, outbound links and heavily promote your profile throughout your own social media networks and websites.

1. Connect with lots of potential prospects and referral partners

LinkedIn is a huge source of leads and marketing channels – but only if you’re willing to connect with people. The more connections you make, the more people you will reach with your posts and comments. You want to send connection requests to people who you have met either in person or online. Be sure to write a personalized message when you ask to connect to remind them how you know each other.

QUESTION:  What is your biggest challenge when to comes to using LinkedIn to grow your business?

For a deeper dive on learning LinkedIn for business join me for a free webinar training on:

How to Use LinkedIn to Attract More Clients in Less Than 30 Minutes a Day

Marketing Tips for Helping You Get More Clients Now (Part II)

Last week you received some great news when I told you that you could get more clients for your business – for free! Client referrals are a powerful source of new client generation, and getting more client referrals doesn’t have to cost you a penny!Remember: getting more client referrals for your business isn’t complicated, but it can be difficult if you don’t actively encourage your clients to recommend your business. Here are 4 more tips that will help you get more client referrals:

A great way to motivate your clients to share their positive experiences with your business is to offer an incentive to clients whose referrals bring in new clients. For example, I am satisfied with my bank’s customer service, so when they offered me a $250 deposit to my checking account if I referred a colleague to open a new business account I jumped at the opportunity. Whatever incentive you choose to offer, make sure that it is something of value that will show your client how much you appreciate their referral. You can also team up with clients or other businesses to cross promote and refer new business to one another.

Marketing Tip #5 Get Personal

Asking a client to pass along your business card is a start, but great client referrals involve you building an immediate relationship with the referred client. Instead, ask a client for a colleague’s contact information and contact them personally, or ask a client to introduce you to a colleague at the next industry event. You can even lead by example and connect your client with referrals at your next networking event by saying something like “David, I want you to meet Nancy. She is a goal-oriented sales expert who helped me increase my business’s sales by 200%!” David will be grateful for the referral and eager to return the favor.

Marketing Tip #6 Follow Up with Referrals

When Frank, a long-time and reliable client, tells you that he mentioned your business to his friend’s brother and hands you his phone number, don’t wait a week before calling him. Make contact with a potential client while your business is still fresh in their mind. Then keep making contact. On average, businesses must follow-up with potential clients 8 times in order to make a sale. Be persistent. This does not mean that you have to call a potential client and say “I’m just calling to follow up…”. Say something like “I stumbled upon a great article with tips that I think would benefit your business…” or “I’ve just heard of an upcoming event that may be of interest to you…”. Following up with a potential client by offering useful information shows them that you are dedicated to their business’s success and allows you to maintain contact without hassling them with repetitive messages.

Marketing Tip #7 Follow Up and Get More Clients

Keep Frank updated on the status of his referral and let him know if his brother’s friend becomes a client. Send a card thanking him for sending new business your way. It sounds basic, but you’d be amazed how many business owners forget to thank their clients for referrals. Showing your gratitude for his support will make him eager to refer your business again!

QUESTION:  What great follow up tips can you share that has helped you to actually follow up? Please share your ideas in the comment box below.

About Yoon Cannon: Top business coach Yoon Cannon has helped thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants and sales teams achieve dramatic results in growing your business. Over the past 20 years Yoon has started 4 successful companies and sold 3 of them. She offers fresh insights as a seasoned business growth expert. Yoon delivers proven process for your sales, marketing and management development.  Grab free valuable gifts and resources at https://www.ParamountBusinessCoach.com  To book Yoon to speak at your next event email: YoonCannon@ParamountBusinessCoach.com To schedule a complimentary business coaching consultation call (215) 292-4947. 

© Copyright 2016

Marketing Tips for Helping You Get More Clients Now (Part I)

It’s a jungle out there, and the competition for clients is fierce. Luckily, you don’t have to spend a fortune on creative marketing schemes to get connected with new, quality clients. In fact, the best way to get new clients in your door won’t cost you a penny!How many times have you visited a new barber or tried a new printing service at the recommendation of a friend or colleague? I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve tried a new restaurant after hearing a friend rave about it! Client referrals are a powerful source of new client generation – people value and trust their friends’ opinions.

Getting more client referrals for your business isn’t complicated, but it can be difficult if you don’t actively encourage your clients to recommend your business. Here are 3 tips that will help you get more client referrals:

Marketing Tip #1 Look At It From Your Clients’ Point of View

Of course you want your clients to refer new clients to your business, but why should your clients want to refer new clients? They will be putting their credibility on the line each time they recommend your business to a friend or colleague. It’s your job to prove to your clients that your business is worthy of their referrals.

Marketing Tip #2 Endear Yourself to Your Clients

If you have a “gimme gimme” relationship with your clients, your focus on how your clients can benefit you – instead of a focus on how you and your clients can benefit each other – is unlikely to lead to many client referrals. Instead, go a step further and focus on how you can express tokens and gestures of thoughtfulness to your clients. Take the example of my mortgage broker. During one of our conversations, he took some time to get to know me and discovered that I have a love of sushi. As it turned out, he has a passion for fishing for exotic fish. More than once after that conversation he would return from a fishing trip and deliver some of his fresh catch to my home without me even asking! I was pleased with his brokerage services and blown away by his generosity. When he asked me for a referral, I of course was more than willing to spend the time to think of quality referrals for him.

Marketing Tip #3 Ask for One

It’s seems so straightforward, so why do business owners often shy away from asking their clients for referrals? Fear of rejection or of ruining a good relationship with an existing client are the primary deterrents. But asking for a referral doesn’t have to be daunting, just casually mention it during conversation. When a client thanks you for a job well done say something like “I’m glad that you are pleased with our services. We would be so grateful if you would tell your friends about your first-rate experience us.” or “I’ve really enjoyed doing business with you, and I’d love to work with more clients who are so receptive to new ideas. Who do you know in the restaurant business who you think may be interested in our quality services?” See, that wasn’t so scary.

Just wait, there’s more! Check back on this blog site to get part 2 which  includes 4 more tips to help you get more client referrals for your business! If you’d rather get it delivered straight to your inbox all you have to do is put in your email address in the opt in below.

QUESTION:  What part of marketing do you struggle with the most in your business? Please also share what type of business you’re in. Post your thoughts in the comment box below.

About Yoon Cannon: Top business coach Yoon Cannon has helped thousands of small business owners, entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants and sales teams achieve dramatic results in growing your business. Over the past 20 years Yoon has started 4 successful companies and sold 3 of them. She offers fresh insights as a seasoned business growth expert. Yoon delivers proven process for your sales, marketing and management development.  Grab free valuable gifts and resources at https://www.ParamountBusinessCoach.com  To book Yoon to speak at your next event email: YoonCannon@ParamountBusinessCoach.com To schedule a complimentary business coaching consultation call (215) 292-4947. 

© Copyright 2016