Regardless of the business that you're in, it is important to be aware of the activities of competitors. We can learn a lot from them, lessons of both the what to do and what not to do variety. But be mindful that it is inadvisable to base your marketing strategies and sales stories on what competitors do and say. Such an approach is reactive. Your business interests are better served when being proactive.
In other words, it's smarter to be yourself. That requires confidence, yet there will be no real success in life or business without a secure and healthy sense of self. Without that character trait, one cannot be authentic. Clients respond best to authenticity.
To help yourself stay true to yourself, start by acknowledging your strengths and remind yourself of where you excel. Next, as you monitor the competition, rather than obsessing over what they are doing, pay attention instead to what they're not doing. Where and how can you provide solutions that clients value and how can you best package and deliver it?
Another big way to beat the competition is to create a good experience for the client. Think about how it may feel to do business with yourself. Do you make it easy? Do your business practices inspire trust and confidence? Are you able to anticipate and show empathy for client needs?
Do some reality-testing while on an assignment and ask your client this: "What can I do to make things better, easier, faster?" This little question let clients know that you're willing to go the extra mile and provide services that make their lives easier. You'll look like a hero, you'll strengthen client relationships and you'll position yourself to grab some all-important repeat business. You may even tweak your business model if you find out that certain of your practices can be an inconvenience.
If you have friends and family who in their jobs hire Solopreneurs, ask them what they'd like to see more of and less of in the vendors they work with. Ask them about what types of behaviors they consider red flags and deal-breakers. Ask them if they could hand-craft the experience they have when interacting with their Solopreneur consultants, what would it look like?
I'll let you in on a few pearls that were recently shared with me:
- Let the client know how you will work.
- Answer frequently asked questions before the client has to ask them.
- Set up a timetable to let clients know when they can expect the deliverables and when key milestones will be reached.
Aim to make your clients feel guided and taken care of. This inclines them to trust you and allows them to relax and know that a professional is in control. You look like a real pro because you are always a step ahead. You know how to land the plane, the project is in expert hands and they look like a genius for hiring you. This also supports premium pricing because you demonstrate in all ways that you are worth the money. Ta-dah, you can and will beat the competition!
Thanks for reading,