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Competition on a level playing field is hard enough, but local electricians who try to undercut your rates are a whole different level of difficulty. What are you supposed to do? If there’s anything small business retailers have learned, it’s how to deal with competition that uses low prices to take away business. Those who survive the invasion of Walmart and other discount stores in their community have found that using tactics other than price is the way to survive – even thrive.
Switch the Focus
If your competition is trying to make it all about the price, change the focus and concentrate on marketing to potential customers emphasizing your great customer service or extensive knowledge. If you can’t afford to lower your prices, why try to fight on that field? Change it up by competing with them in an area you can win. Make the conversation about how you go the extra mile or about how you have people on your team with multiple areas of expertise. Years of experience and hundreds of satisfied customers can be more valuable than low price special deals.
Raise Your Prices
It can be a risky move, but sometimes raising prices can be the smartest way to combat the discount competition. It certainly works for Apple, doesn’t it? Change your branding and depict your shop as an exclusive team with extraordinary service and skills. Sure, your service costs more, but you’re worth it and smart consumers know this. Add little service frills like text messages to let customers know when your team is on the way and whole-house internet planning services. These extras don’t cost you a thing, but they’ll add value in the eyes of your clients.
Offer Free Content
If you can’t lower your prices, add more services for the same amount of money. Create a list of small services you can perform while on the job and offer them to the customer at no extra charge. It will give them the same feeling as getting a discount but will allow you to keep the same income. Add small services like circuit breaker safety checks, air terminal (lightning rod) consultations or a free maintenance check after a major job.
Increase Your Online Presence
Instead of competing directly with the discount shop, ignore them and increase your income by other means. Take a hard look at your online presence. When’s the last time you updated your website? Do you even have a website? About 75% of the people who are looking for services today check online first. If your website is high in the Google rankings and offers a great user experience, it will bring in more new customers than any ad campaign. If you don’t have a blog on your site, write a post every couple of weeks or hire someone to do it for you.
Advertise Your Differences
Your competition is trying to make the conversation all about pricing, but there’s a wide variety of comparison points you can show between your two shops. Create a chart showing all the differences where you compare favorably and post it on your website. Make obvious comparisons between you and your competition, with explicit examples of how your work, your service and your company are better for your customers.
If you’ve had to fight off discount competition in your community, what did you do?