Things are moving fast these days. Business is conducted at the speed of a mouse click. To gain a competitive advantage and have any chance at success, you not only have to know who your competition is, but you need to understand them as well. Too many managers, owners, and top executives have lost sight of the real competition out there. So, just who is the real competition?
Let's really examine what competition really is. In business competition is anything that can distract you, or your customer from the real objective - doing business with each other. When a customer comes into your showroom for real or virtually, what can distract them from their true mission? The answer is almost anything other than your initial intent. For example, when someone visits your web site and they want to contact an individual, are they distracted by a coupon that blocks the entire site and takes too long to load so they can close it? Perhaps. Do you want to take that chance? Are you pushing coupons or selling cars?
A customer can transfer funds from one account to another in a second, send a package around the world in less than a day, watch a feature film any time of day or night, or gather all the information about your products services and company with the click of a mouse, that's your competition. It's not the guy up the street, or the company that does almost exactly what you do. Your competition is determined by the knowledge and experience of your potential customer. If you focus on anything less, you are destined to be one of the sheep rather than a leader in your market. Or, like the picture above that I took in South Africa of baboons who simply sit near the road and watch the world pass them by.
In my business, I have a finite market. I can only market to dealers who are looking to add trained salespeople to their team. Even though there are 18,000 + dealers out there, not all of them have the need or even qualify for a service like ours. So, if I focused on what my competition is doing every minute of the day rather than keeping my eye on what unique qualities our trainers bring to the market, I will certainly lose. If my competition spends 80%of their time trying to "protect" their dealers from the evil of their competitors, they will risk those same clients. The key to beating your competition and keeping your accounts is to focus on exceeding expectations on the clients you have.
The quality companies in any industry market their uniqueness. While no dealer would ever train their people to put down the competition, spending time focusing on what "the other guy" is doing sends the opposite message. Even in a year where sales are down, millions of new vehicles are going to be purchased. Unless you are in a position to sell all of them, be confident that you'll get your share. No competitor can "steal" business from you unless you let them. That means, your only focus is on doing your absolute best with the opportunities you have.
I know there is only one thing I can control in the market I work in - the quality of the work we do with each of our clients. Worrying about who the other guy is signing up and training does absolutely no good. It takes your eye off the task at hand. That task is to do such a fantastic job that the customer, client, dealer or customer couldn't possibly think of going somewhere else.
This past week, one of my trainers reinforced this principle when his dealer paid us the ultimate compliment. The dealer told him that one of our competitors offered to take them on as a client. To win the business, they offered to work with them for free. Because of the focus of this trainer, the dealer declined. That is the measure of a great job and a real lesson on how to beat the competition.
John Fuhrman is the Senior National Trainer for Carolina Automotive Resource Services, a unit of The Dealer Resource Group. His ten books have reached 1.5 million readers and he has trained sales professionals around the world. You can see all of his books on www.amazon.com. When your dealership needs amazing results hiring new people, visit http://www.thedealerresourcegroup.webs.com. ATTENTION DEALERS: VISIT OUR WEB SITE AND REGISTER TO KEEP UP ON MONTHLY TRAINING SAVING SPECIALS. Our trainers are ready to show you our "WOW!" factor. (c)2011 by John Fuhrman - Permission to reprint this post in its entirety, including contact information, is hereby granted.