Put Your Competitors On Your Speed Dial

Most people are afraid of competitors. After all, they’re the big, bad wolves who are out to take your customers and leave you for dead, right? Wrong. They could just be your bread and butter.

Getting buddy-buddy with your competitors may just be the icing on the cake for your bottom line… and here’s why / how you should start cashing in.

News Flash: Not Everybody Wants To Give You Money

You know you’re a rockstar at doing whatever it is that you do, and you have the clients to prove it (or you’re in the process of getting those clients under your belt). But try as you might, there are plenty of fish in that great big sea who will never hand over their money to partake of your services.

Why? All things being equal, it’s not because you suck. It’s simply because you’re not the right fit for them. Your offering may be too pricey (or not pricey enough). You may be in the wrong time zone for them. You may have done service for their competitor, and company policy dictates you as untouchable. Or even more simply, you may not be able to handle the scale of work that they require (whether the job is too big or too small).

For customers like these, it makes sense for them to go to someone other than you. But you don’t have to lose out on a payday.

Cash In Even When The Cash Goes Elsewhere

Imagine these no-customer-for-you situations:

  • Joe’s Widget Shop needs a great web designer. You’re a great web designer. But you’re not the right fit for Joe, because your rates are way too high (because you ROCK!). Joe goes to a competitor.
  • Jake’s OmniCorp needs a good accountant as it expands to international operations. And while you’re CPA-licious, your area of expertise is in the smaller local field. Jake goes to a competitor.
  • Jon’s Bar and Grill needs a decorating makeover, but your experience is in high-falutin’ corporate interiors, not in restaurants. Jon goes to a competitor.

Sucks, don’t it? But now imagine …

  • You tell Joe about Andy’s Small Biz Web Design firm, which fits his budget beautifully.
  • You tell Jake about Zack’s Big-Time CPA-Mart, which specializes in what he really needs.
  • Your tell Jon about Damon’s Eatery Outfitters, which rocks the house in his tri-state area.

Joe, Jake and Jon are happy… and so are you. Why? Because you had a prior agreement with Andy, Zack and Damon that you’d get a cut of whatever business you brought to them.

Make Deals With My Competitors?

Chances are high that your mailing list / rolodex is full of people who simply will not buy from you because they are looking for a different solution to fit their unique needs. You can either sit on those unresponsive leads, or make money off of them while helping them find exactly what they need.

You don’t have to deal with your direct competitors – unless you want to – but you should get attuned to why certain customers don’t buy from you and seek out the other related players in your field who would fit their needs. If you’re a big player, find small ones (and vise-versa). Make deals ahead of time, and send referrals each way toget the most bang for the customer’s buck (no matter who it’s spent with).

Now It’s Your Turn

How can you use this concept, this very week, to create streams of income where the river’s run dry? Add your comment below and keep the conversation going.

Dave

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Comments

  1. says

    Hey Dave,

    This is a great tactic.

    It works really well if you have a strong relationship with a small competitor. If you don’t, the best thing to do is broker/manage the business…

    Basically, you take the orders from the customer (and payment), and you outsource the job to a competitor. A lot of companies do this because they stay in total control of the customer account. And they put together an anti-compete contract with the competitor to prevent them from “stealing” the customer.

    Good stuff!

  2. says

    @New York –
    Greetings from a fellow Brooklynite (Go Gerritsen!). Glad to hear of your success.

    @Shane
    Nice added point in your comment. Outsourcing is a great take on this as well, since you retain control (esp. with a non-poaching clause).

  3. says

    Great advice. When I had customers calling who were looking for a product that a competitor was better suited to provide, I called up their sales person myself. Then called the potential customer back with the information on what to order. I just thought of it as good service and that they would be inclined to call me first next time.

    I didn’t get a cut from the deal, but figured that my competitor would do the favor in kind over time. I just made sure my boss didn’t find out I wasn’t pushing our product on to the customer which is what he would have done.

  4. says

    @Gary –

    What goes around comes around. Even if you pass on a customer to someone who can meet their needs more closely, that customer will get the word out about you.

  5. says

    great tips specially regarding making deals although most dealers are probably scared of loosing customers and they will prob not do this.

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