Marketing your small business to
Okay, ďmarketing to your
competitorĒ might be a bit strong.
But in essence, this technique DOES market your services
and your small business to your competitor for the purposes of
getting them to either ignore you or perhaps even give business to
you. Either way, you remove
your competitor's teeth.
A great way of eliminating your
competition is to refer customers to your competitor if you
donít provide the service that the customer requires.
This concept is going to sound really dumb to some people
at first, but consider this.
If you simply cannot handle the
business, the customer is probably going to end up at the
competition anyway. Why
not at least get credit for it? And you can also be a bit surer
about which competitor gets the business.
Be sure you let your competitor
know what youíve done. In
fact, pick out one lucky salesperson and give the lead directly to
him/her. Just stop in at the
competitor's office, tell them what you are doing and give them
the business lead. It gives the
competitor a false sense of security and makes them think of you
as harmless and maybe even appreciate you.
It will sure make them scratch their heads!
A side benefit is by stopping in at the competition's place of
business, you have a very legitimate reason to come in and sit and
look around a bit.
If your competition is getting business from
you, they are far less likely to go after you and may in fact, not
counter what you do when you go after the smaller business.
Even from a big business perspective, it is very hard to
stomp someone who is giving you business, especially if you
donít think they are a threat to your larger business.
They begin to think of you as a business ally and maybe
even as complementary to their business.
Hereís where it gets
interesting. Your competitorís salespeople love to have business handed
to them. And if company management even thinks about going after
you, the person youíve been handing business is now your
advocate on the inside of the company.
How much better can life get than to have an insider at
your competitor who wants to keep you in business?
Given the right circumstances and the right competitor
(like they really hate the onesie/twosies), they might even
redirect some business back to you!
When you do end up vying for the
same business against your competitor, you've also placed them in
a precarious position. They will still probably try to take
the business, but neither do they want to hurt you in the
process. You will find that your competitors are much nicer
to you and even give you some compliments.
Then at some point when you are
established and want to keep this business that youíve been
giving away, just stop making the referrals.
Donít make a big deal about it.
It could be months before your competition figure this out.
They arenít focused on a daily basis for the business
that you send them, and they certainly donít want to hurt you if
it is at all possible that you are only going through a referral
Keep your competitive edge
Even if things are going well,
keep your costs down to a minimum.
Constantly ask yourself if you really need a particular
expenditure or if the ROI justifies it.
Marketing for the small business
means being flexible and that means having marketing
maneuverabilityÖ and that of course means not having cash to
Companies get stodgy, lazy, and
susceptible to competitive strikes when they bloat their budgets
with non-essentials, get comfortable, and commit themselves to
contracts and costs that are nice, but have no real functional