October 29, 2014 / Melissa Faudree

Imagine you are shopping for a new cell phone. You are trying to decide between the two hottest phones today: Apple’s iPhone 6 and Samsung’s Galaxy S5. Perhaps you are an Apple fan and loyal customer. You have purchased all their products since the release of the first iPhone in 2007. What does this mean for you? There is no question in your mind that you will purchase the iPhone 6. However, if you are like Indianapolis Colts quarterback, Andrew Luck and owned a flip phone for years, it might be time for an upgrade. But which product you should purchase? Everyone has their opinions. So you’ve undoubtedly heard friends and family discuss which phone is better and why. What about listening to the brands themselves? The specialists?

Your company probably doesn’t have Apple or Samsung as competitors but everyone has competition. Why should a potential client choose your business? How do you stand apart from your competition? These are questions you need to constantly ask yourself with a business.

Here are some tips to help stay ahead of your competitors.

Know your Audience
Understanding your target audience will be key to grabbing their attention with the potential to sell and become loyal customers. Find out as much information as possible about your audience. What do they like? What do they dislike?

Be Original & Unique
Don’t be a copycat. Try to think of different ways to market your company and service. If your competition is open from 8am-5pm, try staying longer. Or if your competition offers five-dollar burritos on Fridays, you could offer a punch card that will get you a free burrito after a certain number of visits. Differentiating your offerings and services will make you stand out.

Is Your Product Better?
Just like Apple’s new iPhone, customers are willing to pay more money for the pay because they know the product is “the best.” How can you make your product more compelling? You can offer features that no other competitor offers. Don’t be afraid to look at the competition to get ideas on how to create a better product.

Be Available and Approachable
It is important to make yourself available with not just potential customers but current customers. However, potential customers need to feel confident that you will be available if they have any questions or concerns. So try to answer emails quickly and return phone calls within a few hours. When you are handling customers always be approachable. Have a pleasant tone especially if you are talking on the phone. You can also name drop during a conversation with them. People want to feel special and using their name in conversation will make them feel like they are being heard.

Show Customers You Care
Don’t forget to show your customers that you care. Give them the personal attention that they need and deserve. If you need to fix a problem at 10pm at night in order to make a customer happy, then this will show your dedication and passion for your business. Going above and beyond is usually something that does not go unnoticed. Companies like Zappos strive to go the extra mile for all their customers. For more information on customer service with Zappos, click here.

Don’t Compete on Price Alone
A lot of people think that they need to compete with the price alone in order to be better than the competition. If your competitor lowers their price, then you should too. Wrong. The price of your products and services should reflect on the quality and worth. Your products can be more expensive if that means they are of good quality and service. If your price is higher, you will need to convince customers why your product is better than the competitions.

Stay On Top of Technology
Technology changes all the time. It is important to stay on top of what is current. However it is also important to consider your audience. If you have an older audience, then certain technologies for your business may not be the best decision.

Don’t Neglect Social Media
Social media is something you should never neglect in today’s society. Be sure your business is on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Of course there are many other social networks that you can join. You can use social media to post new products, discounts/specials, and contests. Use social media to help promote your business and any events your company hosts. A social presence will show customers you care.

Businesses will always have competition but trying and learning different strategies will help with the success of your business. What makes you choose a company’s service? Are there certain things you always look for?

 
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