As scary as it may feel having your competitors in the same room as you is not bad for business. It can actually seriously improve your business success.
It’s all very well to walk into a networking event and be the only person in the room that does what you do, however real life is not like that. And we don’t want to sugar coat business, we want to help you make it really work.
And to do that, you need to be able to effectively deal with the competition.
(We also think its important that you know that we care about ALL women in business and as such although we are known as a very proactive environment to gain new business we are also about business growth and don’t want to exclude someone from the opportunity to hear one of our master class speakers just because they were not first through the door with a fat membership fee – hence the no membership ever policy!)
So how can you effectively deal with completion?
Firstly as much as Tescos or Sainsburys would love to be the only supermarket in your town they are not. And the profits rise and fall as they respect and care for their customers, suppliers and staff. (Worth noting right?)
Years ago when I lived in a one street of shops town , there was one clothes shop for ladies, Dorothy Perkins. When we heard that they were building a row of shops opposite this and one of them would be New Look, the local Chamber Commerce said it would doom the town centre.
How could a town support 2 ladies fashion stores?
The fact is it had the opposite effect. Instead of people leaving our tiny town to shop elsewhere, suddenly there was choice. It didn’t damage the town, it enhanced it and caused more shops to be built. The town, grew. (Something else worth noting right?)
Lots of business women make the mistake of assuming that because there is competition in the room, they will lose out on business opportunities, on the contrary its your chance to shine. To showcase why you.
What do you give your customers that no one else can or does?
How do you make your clients feel truly loved?
Knowing this and getting it across in your marketing strategy is imperative. And when networking the same language, words, and attitude should shine through everything you say too. Remember people buy from people, not businesses, so in the words of your happiest favourite customers why you?
How do you fix peoples woes, worries, stresses and problems?
Power up your success rate by talking about real time solutions, happy customers and top tips for a happier life and/or business.
When it comes to Value Added Marketing the end goal is not just a sale. How do you make people feel special? Do you keep in touch effectively so that they naturally only want to work with you?
The lovely Di Gilbranch (The Doggy Dinner Lady from Trophy Pet Food Colchester) makes a point of getting in touch by text (because she knows that’s easy for me) and checks up on our dog food supply. I don’t ever have to place an order. Di does the leg work and even delivers to my door. Now that is service that I am happy to pay for and I recommend. So a national store could have my custom, but you can guess who gets it!
Tell me are Mick Jagger & Madonna the best singers in the world?
Sorry Madge but there are better, however Mick and Madge are still making records (and money) because they keep up to date and in touch with their target audience. The biggest brands in the world don’t just advertise to get your business, they advertise to keep it.
If you want to deal with the competition, you accept they exist, raise your game and keep visual. And that’s not just turning up at an event. How do you keep on peoples radar between events?
Is it consistent?
Do you go on about your products and services or are you useful, relevant and interesting?
The hardest thing to deal with, when you see competition in the same room is that overwhelming thing that us women are so good at, and that is to convince yourself that they are better than you, and everyone will love them more. It’s just not true. Be really confident about your price, products and services and remember that people have already chosen you. Why shouldn’t they again? (Unless your competition is offering free Ferraris with every purchase!)
I accept that I’m not the right business coach for everyone. As I like to say there are over 66 million people in the UK and I’m not coaching all of them. Horses for courses right? So accept you are the perfect horse for the perfect client.
Meeting compeititon is also good for you in the sense that it makes you raise your game. Are you doing all you could for your clients? Do you use the latest marketing technques to ensure client retention? Do you know the state of the art technologies for your industry? By meeting my competition I get to hear what other people are doing. What they are learning about. What new techniques they’ve tried. How they deal with their business problems. I don’t see competition as a problem I see competition as an opportunity. To learn and share.
If competition was so bad for business, why does every professional body have a yearly conference? Makes you think right?
If you are really confident in the person you are, the company you own and the abilities you and you company have to be just perfect for your customers, then you could really freak the competition out and work with them. What about a joint event or venture? Some of the best opportunities and most fun I’ve had in business is when I’ve worked with someone who is considered as direct competition. I get to have a great time, learn and share. And support even more people to success. So could you go so far as to work with your competition?
Could your competition lead to new opportunities? When you have too much work on (what a lovely problem to have!) could you pass on work and take a % cut? Could you work with someone prepared to be white labelled to your company because they had to do no work to gain that client?
I get it, I understand that scary “gosh did my heart just stop moment” when you meet someone networking who does what you do. However instead of hiding your head in the sand pretending you are the only person in your county that does what you do your competition is your chance to really shine.
Get known as the thought leader.
And really get known for all the right reasons.
If there are a hundred suited business men and women in the room it is not by accident that I will wear a bright colour. I’m prepared to stand out and accept horses for courses, and boy does the competition teach me so much. Especially how to prove to customers old, new and potential that I’ m right for them and more than anyone else on the planet I genuinely care about their success.
So don’t hide from the competition, accept they exist and use The BWN events to showcase that you are ready for anything. Because let’s be honest in business you need to be.
My name is Mandie Holgate and I’m the founder of The BWN. I always want to do my very best for women in business, so if you think I’ve lost the plot by inviting the competition to events, and not having block outs, I’m very happy to hear your viewpoint (negative or positive) And of course support you to effectively deal with the competition too. See you at a BWN soon!