Competition is good for business. Honestly, it is. So don’t fear it; embrace it and learn from it. Analyzing and learning from them will benefit you in so many ways.

To truly understand how much you can learn from your competitors, firstly let’s divide them into direct and indirect.

Direct competitors are those that provide the exact same service as you or sell the same product/s. They are almost a mirror image of your business. The reason they are helpful to you is that they will encourage you to find ways to truly stand out.

One of the ways to do that is to focus on the one thing they certainly don’t have – YOU! There is only one of you and that’s a very unique selling point.

You are what sets your business apart from others – you have the personality and character to show potential customers why they should choose your company above others. So be sure to market yourself to your customers.

If you work with a team, be sure to highlight what makes them so special as individuals and as a team. Perhaps share images of a staff lunch or a day out you all enjoyed. Showing yourself as a caring and well-liked boss is important to potential clients. If your staff loves you, it’s pretty certain that they will too!

Indirect companies offer a similar service or product but not exact. They too can provide you with fascinating and helpful insights that you may not have considered using in certain elements of your business.

Look at how your competitors advertise – what do you like about their adverts and marketing? What doesn’t appeal? Can you incorporate some of their ideas into your own company? Not exact copying – just tips and tricks that may enhance what you already do.

Take a look at their websites – what stands out and what looks unprofessional? If you were a potential client, would you book with them and why? Was their website easy to use and did it properly explain the services they provide or they products they sell? Would it be easy to buy online using their system or did it strike you as over complicated? Can you learn anything from the design, wording and images that they have chosen?

If you know that a rival company could do the job better for a potential client, show integrity by recommending them. People will remember your honesty and desire to provide them with exactly what they need – and you may be rewarded with a referral from the very person you sent to a competitor. And if that competitor learns what you did for them, they may respond in kind in the future by sending someone your way.

Have your competitors incorporated an environmentally friendly aspect to their services? Have you? In this day and age, clients are always looking for conscientious companies that consider the planet. Be sure to mention any local and community projects that you support too – it shows you care and clients like seeing that caring, sharing side of a business.

What have your competitors focused on that you perhaps haven’t considered? These points of difference can really help you to further understand the market and can help you to increase your client base.

Do they offer promotions, competitions, referral schemes or loyalty rewards? If so, perhaps you can come up with your own unique way to say thank you to repeat customers or those that refer you to others.

So don’t see competition as a concern – it shows that there is a need for your type of business and service and that’s always a good thing.

Support your local small businesses.  #fembuiz



How to Kick Ass when Meeting with a Potential Client

It can be not only exciting but also incredibly nerve-wracking when meeting with a potential client for the first time. Here are some handy tips to make sure that you completely kick ass.

Be on time – whether it’s at your office or theirs or a public location – arrive with time to spare and have everything cleared away before they arrive. It says a lot about your character. Being late or in a state of disarray is a big no-no.

Everything from clothes to make-up to popping a mint in before you meet them will help to convey an air of confidence and that you are the right person for the job. So be sure to wear smart, pressed clothes and spend some time on your hair and makeup to achieve a professional, well-presented look that will impress your potential client even before you’ve said one word.

You will be judged in the first few moments on your appearance, professionalism and trustworthiness – so introduce yourself with a firm handshake and an air of confidence and calm.

Put your phone out of sight – they will appreciate that they have your full attention and won’t be distracted by rings, dings, buzzes and notifications. You may even want to switch it off before putting it away.

Keep your introduction and the first few minutes of the conversation light-hearted, without complaining about the traffic or how bad the weather is. Portray positivity during these crucial few moments – no-one likes a whinger.

Preparation is key so research them and their business thoroughly in advance of the meeting and incorporate something you’ve learned about them into the conversation. This will impress the potential client and show that you are serious about wanting to work with them.

Have an agenda so that the meeting stays on track and on point. This will also serve as a useful reminder of things to discuss, as it’s easy to forget crucial information during your first meeting due to possible nerves.

Establish and maintain eye contact throughout the meeting. There may be other things going on around you but it’s important to make them feel like they are the centre of your world throughout the meeting.

Take notes – not only will this help you to focus, but it also shows your intent to take them seriously. Plus, it’s easy to forget something crucial if you don’t write it down then and there. It doesn’t’ look good if you have to ask them a few days later to clarify an important point.

Don’t interrupt – listen, listen, listen. Listening is one of the hardest skills to master and when a client can see that you are truly listening, it gives them faith and confidence. Nod and smile when they are explaining something to you to show that you are listening and taking it all in. And try not to interrupt them or talk over them.

Use phrases and words used by them to ask follow-up questions – this helps to establish a connection and can have a very calming effect.

Manage their expectations and show a willingness to work with them. Don’t oversell as this may lead to stress or disappointment further down the line.

Don’t let the meeting drag on so when you feel like you are approaching a natural conclusion to the meeting, ask if they have any final queries, then explain next steps and your plan of action confidently and concisely.

Last but definitely not least, have belief in yourself and make sure this comes across in a way that establishes trust and your ability to get the job done properly and professionally. Don’t doubt yourself or let your nerves show. Instead, act as if you have already landed the job and that this is merely a meeting to go through the main points of working together.

We hope you find these tools helpful and wish you many successful first meetings that lead to many new clients.