If outperforming your competition is an issue for you, you want to look at who is the primary competition and what are their advantages? In what areas are they outperforming me?
Are they outperforming me in terms of just price? If that’s what it is. And a lot of times that’s what people are up against in the online market. The online sellers are able to sell for less. And at that point you have to say, “okay, is that something I even want to try to compete with?” Or am I more interested in finding the types of clients who understand and appreciate the value that I bring to the table.
David: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. Today, cohost Jay McFarland, and I will be discussing the importance of outperforming your competition. Welcome back, Jay.
Jay: So good to be here again, David and this topic is very interesting to me. You know, I’ve been in small business. I know a lot of business owners and I got to tell you, oftentimes you’re so caught up in, just generating sales that what the competition is doing, how much they’re doing. Are you competing with the competition? A lot of times, those thoughts don’t come up because there’s just no time for that. And so I’m wondering what the consequences are if I’m not even thinking about my competition.
David: Well, if you’re doing great and you’re making the money you need to make, maybe you don’t have to think about your competition at all. Maybe you’re the one that everybody is trying to come after.
And when we think about that, it’s not just about the fact that, okay, well, maybe somebody else is outperforming me. But a lot of people, if they’ve been in a market for a particularly long time and they’ve been selling to people who have other options, they’ll find out who their competitors are.
Because they’ll say, “oh, I’m already doing business with somebody.” And you ask who it is and they give you a name or they give you a company name. And you’re like, okay, I’ve heard that name once now. And then you talk to somebody else and now I’ve heard another name and now I’ve heard another name. So you have three different names.
Then you go to somebody else. And now you hear two for this one. Then you hear three for this one. And then four for this one. You say, “okay, this person has a lot of traction in this market.” So you start to recognize them as competition.
Also, as things have evolved online, there are now online competitors that compete with local businesses left and right. And so there are a lot of people who think in terms of the online competition. How can I compete with that?
So, when we talk about the importance of outperforming your competition, it’s not because, “well, I’ve got to win at all costs,” and all that sort of thing. But if you are in business for yourself and you are counting on your sales and your salary to be able to put food on your table. And if your competition is sometimes interfering with that, then the necessity of outperforming your competition becomes very clear. You don’t want to run into a situation where somebody says, “yes, I’m already dealing with this person.” You want that person to go in there and they say, “no, I’m already dealing with you,” right?
David: You want to be the person who already has that sort of foothold, that sort of traction in a market.
So outperforming the competition starts with saying, “okay, who’s doing a pretty good job in this market?” And is there somebody that I think is actually doing a better job in this market? Or is there somebody who is doing a job that the marketplace thinks is better? Right?
Because you may know that you are already better than this competitor they mentioned. And nothing can be more frustrating sometimes for people, when you go into a situation, they say, “oh, I’m doing business with that person.”
And you want to say, “oh, they’re awful. I can’t believe you’re doing that!” But of course you don’t say that. But when you recognize that you’re already better, but other people don’t have that same perception, you say, “okay, well, how am I going to fix that? How am I going to change that?” Because it’s not just about outperforming the competition, it’s about letting the market know and understand and talk about how you outperform the competition.
Jay: Well, it’s interesting. So first I have to assess kind of where they’re at and where I compare to them and then create kind of a battle plan to be able to go up against them and demonstrate to my potential customers that when we talk about outperform, we’re talking about quality, we’re talking maybe about cost, customer service.
I mean, there’s all kinds of different ways that “outperform” can be, right? That it can indicate.
David: Yeah. And that is a really beautiful distinction that you just drew there. Because for some people, if their primary buying criteria is price and somebody else is charging less than you are, you might not want to outperform that particular person.
Because, you know, as we often say, “the rush to zero margin is not a race I want to win.” You don’t want to put yourself in a situation where you’re cutting price and you make the sale and you end up regretting it because you’re not making enough money to justify the time that you’re putting in. So there’s certainly that aspect of it.
But when we think in terms of outperforming the competition, it’s not even the kind of thing that you need to drive yourself crazy over. It’s not the kind of thing that I suggest that you really think about and focus on and get worried about. If it’s an issue for you, you want to look at who is the primary competition and what are their advantages? In what areas are they outperforming me?
Are they outperforming me in terms of just price? If that’s what it is. And a lot of times that’s what people are up against in the online market. The online sellers are able to sell for less.
And at that point you have to say, “okay, is that something I even want to try to compete with?” Or am I more interested in finding the types of clients who understand and appreciate the value that I bring to the table and who are more interested in working with someone like me, who may be willing to pay a little more from me because they know I’m going to deliver better and more consistently. And I’m going to be available, and all those sorts of things.
So it’s almost like the sliders on a control board or, you know, volume controls and that sort of thing where it’s like, “okay, how’s the service?” Am I pushing the service up or down? Am I pushing the pricing up or down and looking at all the different options there and saying, “where do I want to excel? Where do I want to outperform my competition? Where do I want to be higher?”
And price may very well not be one of them. For a lot of us, price is not going to be the one we want to do. We don’t want to become the Walmart of our industries. Instead we need to say, “okay, how does my service compare? Am I more accessible?
Do I have more and better options available? Am I more reliable in terms of getting stuff to people?”
That’s big, particularly now with supply chain issues, there are a lot of people who struggle to deliver on time.
We did a podcast recently with one of my clients who was talking about the fact that she tells people who say they’re doing business with someone else that ” if you’re ever in a pinch, give me a call.”
And she gave this example of somebody who gave her a call because, and this was like a few days after she was told that they did business with someone else. She said, well, if you’re ever in a pinch, give me a call. Couple days later, she got a call and they said, Hey, the people that I use, can’t get it for me. Can you do this?
And she was able to do it. And she didn’t even have to break a sweat doing it. It wasn’t like it was an impossible deadline and she pulled it off. It was like, yeah, this is something that she was capable of doing. It was already in her wheelhouse. And she was able to accomplish that and win the client.
So once she does that, she becomes that go-to person, because they’d rather deal with the person who can do it for them than be the one who tells ’em they can’t and then they have to go find somebody else.
Jay: Yeah. I think that’s such a good point. Part of the key though, is identifying where it is that you want to compete. And you’ve talked about this
Jay: Do you want to compete on price? Do you want to excel in one way? I think it’s fascinating. You know, I’ve seen studies and research where sometimes when people just pay more for something, they feel like they got a better product, even though it’s the same level of service. Right?
So paying a premium can actually be a way to outperform your competition, right? As long as you live up to that.
David: Right. It’s an advantage for a certain segment of the market. I remember marketing legend, Dan Kennedy was talking about the fact that in every market, there’s one group of people who will always stay at, you know, the Plaza, you know, the, the highest end hotel.
And there’s another group of people that will always stay at the Motel Six. They’ll always stay at the cheapest option. The majority of people are somewhere in the middle. You know, they’ll stay at someplace that is pretty nice. Probably more expensive than a Motel Six. And everybody could stay at Motel Six if it was all about price, right?
Same thing with cars. If we’re all about price, everybody would buy the cheapest car. But people don’t.
And very often people will spend more money because they feel that they’re getting a better experience. That they’re getting somebody who’s more knowledgeable or more responsive or just nicer to deal with.
Or they want to deal with a human instead of a keyboard. They don’t want to be a do it yourselfer. There are lots of reasons that people will pay more. And those are the things we have to look at.
Jay: Do you see situations where people are trying to outperform their competition in every aspect? Like price, service, turnaround, everything? And they’re just, killing themselves, trying to do that?
David: Yeah, more often than not. I’ve always seen “here are three options, pick two.” You know? It’s like price service or delivery, you know, pick two. I can do two, but I can’t do all three.
I don’t know. I mean, I imagine there are people who fancy themselves doing that. They think, “oh yeah, we’re great at all this stuff.”
And I imagine there are people who are really good at all those things. And if they are, that’s great. But in every market, it’s not likely that you’re going to get all the business. Even like in our Total Market Domination course. You know, we talk about the fact that there are specific segments of the market that you really want to dominate.
The ones who have the money, who appreciate the value, who pay on time, you know, all those types of things. That’s the segment of the market you want to dominate. You don’t want anybody and everybody. You don’t want the people who are going to nickel and dime you on price and badger you, because it hasn’t arrived three days early and are just a big pain.
So, deciding what your key criteria are, is very important in this process. And all this week in our Inner Circle, this is what we’re addressing. You know, the importance of outperforming competition, whatever that means to you. Whoever you decide is the competition. And ultimately, the biggest competition that we need to outperform and overcome is ourselves.
Ultimately, when we get to the point where we’re really good at what we do, where we’re already pretty much seen as outperforming everybody else in our market, then the goal is to just continue to raise the bar on ourselves.
Jay: Yeah, so much of this sounds to me like defining who we are and what our business is and who we want to be.
Because if you are trying to serve every customer, like you said, the one who will nickel and dime you, the one who will pay a premium, if you’re trying to serve every single group, it’s an impossibility.
It’s like when I go to a restaurant and they have 500 things on the menu, the first thing I think of is they’re going to do 500 things in a mediocre way instead of five things that they’re just going to knock out of the park, right?
And so I think that’s kind of what we’re talking about. Decide who you want to be, what segment you want to go after and be proud and be that person instead of trying to be all things to all people.
David: Absolutely. And when we talk about outperforming our competition, it’s about identifying what are we going to tell the market that we’re good at?
And that absolutely has to line up with the things that we’re good at. Not “well, I’m going to say I’m, going to give them the lowest price, even though I’m not.”
No. If you’re not the price person, don’t claim to be the price person. Give them the criteria that actually match what it is that you do. Because when that matches up… when your marketing actually aligns with your delivery and the way that you do things, you’ve got consistency there.
And people are going to say, “okay, yeah, this person delivered on what they said they were going to do.”
The other thing it does is it attracts the segment of the market that you actually want.
If you put out advertising that says that you’re the cheapest and you deliver fast, then that’s going to attract low ballers and people who are looking for speed. People who want to have everything yesterday. And that takes a toll on a business. That absolutely impacts customer service. Because if everybody’s expecting your product really fast and really cheap, then you barely have time to do what’s necessary from a customer service standpoint.
So by deciding “what areas do I plan to outperform in?” And it could be three, maybe four. I don’t think you want to go much beyond that. It could be two really strong ones. I would say two or three is probably the sweet spot. And you say, “this is my focus. This is what I’m great at. If I can help you, let me know.” Then you’ll be attracting the people that you can actually deliver for.
Jay: I notice that we’re talking about outperforming the competition, not attacking the competition
Jay: Or telling people why the competition is bad. There’s a distinction there. And why is that distinction important?
David: Oh, well, I think it’s tempting sometimes, if we know we are up against a competitor who is just not good, or not nice, or unethical, to want to share that information in one way or another. To say, “oh, they’re terrible. But you have to resist that urge. Because it will be a direct reflection of you.
If you say they’re terrible. If they’ve had dealings with that person and they haven’t had a terrible experience, they’re going to then question your judgment. And so everybody gets to decide. Because we all have our own priorities. Maybe the person that they’re dealing with, maybe the person they chose is better at you are in some of the areas that you really don’t want to pursue.
So from their standpoint, they’re better. Yeah. They’re cheap and they’re fast. Okay. Well, if you’re looking for cheap and fast and if they’re cheap and fast and they can actually get it delivered for you. Yeah. Maybe they’re your person. So, It’s important to understand that our opinions are not universal. They feel like it to us, right?
When I have an opinion, I’m sure everyone else shares it, but then they don’t. So it’s good just to recognize that we’re not always correct in our assumptions. Or our assumptions don’t always match those of other people.
Jay: Yeah. I love how you said it reflects back on us When people are willing to use that tactic, I instantly think about their character. You know, if you have to attack somebody else to make your product look good, I’ve always viewed that as lack of confidence in your own product, not in their product. So I think you’re sending a message that will be interpreted in a negative way.
David: Yeah. And if you look at most of the advertising on television, generally speaking, business people, people who are selling products, generally don’t engage in that sort of behavior, right? It is popular, you know, in some circles, political circles, it won’t be about me at all. it’ll be about why this other person is so terrible.
But I think in business, that is just not a great strategy. Because people want to know that you’re a good fit for them or that you’re not. So if you’re telling them what you can do, how you can do it, how you can help, they’re going to be a lot more receptive to that than you just saying. Oh, buy from me because the other person is terrible.
Jay: Yeah. Yeah. An easier message. But again, I don’t think it’ll be interpreted very well. All right. How do people find out more?
David: Okay, well, we’re going to be discussing the importance of outperforming your competition inside the Inner Circle all this week. If that’s a topic you’d like to dive in on, if you’re already a member, you can just log into the Inner Circle website.
Jay: Yeah, I love it. Get some great ideas on how to outperform your competition and set yourself apart. David, it’s been a real pleasure today.
David: Thank you so much, Jay.
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