Everyone is a competitor! Even if you hate confrontation or despise the back-and-forth antics of blow-hard politicians and cut-throat business practices, the reality is we all compete! We compete with others for our desired parking space at the grocery store. We compete with traffic to get to our destinations. We compete with other job applicants when applying for a position. And we compete with other businesses who sell similar products or provide similar services.
It is wisdom to evaluate and study your competition when in business. It gives you insight into how to improve your business in order to gain the competitive advantage.
Learning from your competition is healthy and creates a demanding market of consumers who are willing to pay more for higher quality and better customer service. Take Apple, for instance. Apple is the leading tech giant in cellular phone service. They constantly release updated, high quality products; listen to consumer complaints and make necessary adjustments, updates, and tweaks based on feedback; and they provide great customer service.
It costs very little to actually make an iPhone, yet they market the product for $500-$900 and the majority of consumers line up out the door waiting for its release! This demand has forced Apple's competition (namely Samsung and Android OS) to step up the game and try to meet or beat Apple's success. To date, they haven't quite nailed it.
Nonetheless, your greatest competition of all time is YOURSELF!
Part of what makes Apple products phenomenal (for the most part) is their constant strive to create an updated version of their own product. They ask themselves, "What can we improve on the next version of our product verses what we currently have?" "What worked and what didn't work so well?" "What do customers want that they didn't have or hated on the previous versions."
Apple starts with first identifying their own product faults or omissions, long before evaluating their competition.
The lesson for you and me is that we need to get out of our own way!
We should not think we, our product or service, are so great that everyone is just automatically going to flock toward us. Quite the opposite is true! If you build it, no one is going to come - at least not without some prompting and care.
Here is how you can beat your greatest competition in one easy step: BECOME A SERVICE ORIENTED PROVIDER!
What that means is make customer service your number one priority! Customers will buy higher priced items if they know for a fact your quality is good and your service is impeccable. Even if they hate the product, they will remain loyal if you build that trusting relationship, listen to their input, and make adjustments as needed. Don't be too proud to admit your product or service is flawed.
Everything and everyone is a work in progress. We're all under construction, and we are perfect by no means of the imagination. However, customers are loyal and overlook a multitude of flaws when in fact you treat them like a human and valued client rather than just another number.
Treat everyone with respect and dignity, even when they themselves lack in this department. After all, even disgruntled customers, when treated well, will honor you with respect. You will never please everybody. Some customers were born with a bad attitude and they treat everyone the same. Nothing you do is right. You simply give it all you have and move on.
But, more often than not, providing the best service possible, will foster a trusting relationship and keep the customers not only coming back, but bringing friends to pay for your services or products.