Business can be brutal because… well, that’s business!
For every success you have in growing your market share, another business or other businesses will inevitably lose ground.
Here are 11 quick and easy business tips to gain a competitive advantage over your rivals and insulate yourself from the threat of new entrants in the market.
1. Focus on leads, not sales
Of course, we all want to spark business growth and increase revenue. But the way you do this in a sustainable way is to focus instead on the building of a loyal database of avid fans.
Content marketing, paired with optimized website forms and intelligent email automation follow-up is critical to business success. This approach builds trust by giving away free value before asking for someone’s hard-earned money.
Not an expert in creating optimized lead generation pages on a website? No worries, use a trusted tool like Leadpages to make it happen.
2. Don’t sell products, provide solutions
Like it or not, folks out there aren’t searching for your brand, they’re just looking to solve a problem or find a particular type of product (unless you run Starbucks or Adidas!)
Don’t list all the benefits your product brings. Focus on the solutions. Explain to the customer in simple, straightforward terms how or why your product can help them or assist in the attainment of their goals.
Consider FedEx’s iconic slogan: When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight. This was a clear example of addressing widely-spread anxiety about the reliability of delivery services.
Run through some market research to profile your target customer. How does your product or service – and your delivery and and price point – solve other people’s problems and make their lives easier or more pleasurable?
3. Always optimize your pricing
Dropping prices doesn’t necessarily raise sales, for instance (though it will definitely squeeze margins). If you position yourself as a premium brand, then your customers aren’t necessarily value-driven in the first place, and cutting prices could even tarnish your brand.
Consider this case study from Robert Cialdini’s seminal book ‘Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion’: a jeweller sold out of turquoise jewelry after accidentally doubling, instead of halving, the price. The inflated price tag lent the product an unwarranted cachet!
If you are a premium brand, there are ways to optimize your pricing without lowering prices. For example, offer the quality-conscious customer an ‘exclusive’ benefit that your rivals do not or cannot provide.
If you are at the value-driven end of the market, on the other hand, don’t assume slashing prices means incurring a loss. Low pricing can help you rapidly onboard a heap of new customers who may also buy other items in your shop and return again.
Context also counts for a lot with pricing. The best way to sell a $5,000 watch, for instance, could be by putting it next to a $10,000 watch. Think strategically when it comes to deciding any price point.
4. Hire friendly customer-facing staff
Yes, it sounds obvious, but it’s so very important! Whether consciously or not, people are more likely to buy a product if they like the sales assistant who’s attending to them.
While the employee’s personality obviously has no bearing on the price or your product’s ability to serve their needs is irrelevant. Friendly customer-facing staff will always attract more sales.
Be rigorous in hiring people who are genuinely cheerful, friendly and outgoing. Make sure your training program teaches them to adopt a consistently friendly approach that puts customers at ease and feel like a priority.
5. Stay open even longer
Say you’re a bricks-and-mortar store and you’re getting a rush of customers as closing time approaches… why not close up an hour later?
While this may cause disgruntlement among staff, solve this issue by getting creative with rosters. Monitor customer footfall throughout the day and week to identify your busiest periods, and staff people accordingly.
You can also reduce headcount during quieter periods to offset the higher costs and longer working hours created by your extended opening hours.
It’s a win-win!