Fierce Competition – Sign of the Times

August 26th, 2010 | Category: Mark My Words

I was thinking about a subject for this blog edition when I received a call from a prospective client who owns an established Martial Arts academy. During our assessment interview, I jotted down a few notes specific to the status of his business.

After the call, I noticed that I had drawn multiple thick circles around 3-bulleted items and they were, “declining market size”, “too much competition” and “slipping tuition revenue and margins”. I took these notes directly from his statement that went something like this:

“When I started my business there was no competition, yet today there are 10 schools within 20 minutes from my location and they all compete for the same students. How do I convince people to select my academy over the others?”

Sound familiar?

No matter how different selling window tinting may seem from selling Tae Kwon Do classes, the reality is that most small businesses face the exact same challenges, which are too many fishermen, fewer numbers of fish and lower prices for your catch.

The moral of the story is that you can prosper, although to do so, you’ll need to identify what makes you the better choice over your competition. Then you need to find a clever way to deliver your better choice message to a more precisely targeted prospect list – prospects that you already know have a greater probability of favorable response to your offer. And finally, you’ll need to be relentless in your marketing and promotional messages, including expanding you reach and increasing your impressions.

When my new client responded to my question about what makes him different, he stated items such as, 20 years in the business, impressive list of awards and accreditations, hands on training, centrally located–recently updated facility and most important, a long list of testimonials from kids, parents and mid-life crisis folks who thought he was the best…

OK, I think you get the point, so are you inspired yet? And have you started your mental list of reasons why prospects should choose your company over the competition? And do you know who your high probability prospects really are?

For my Martial Arts academy client, we’re going to target birthdays, gender, household incomes, schools and families with children at ages that we know to have an interest. We are even going to install a referral program that rewards existing students for taking an advocate position, referring prospects to the school. We are going to try everything, because this client will not give up because he is a fierce competitor and he wants to thrive – not just survive.

No matter what segment or category your business may be in, odds are good that the “pie” is a bit smaller these days, but if you are a fighter like my Martial Arts client you’ll discover that there’s a long list of things you can to do to ensure prosperity by publishing that you are the better choice.

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