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.
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 dry spell.
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 work with.
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 value.