Since the dawn of time, man has always been trying to outdo his opponent. Whether it was cavemen trying to kill the biggest beast, Ancient kings building the most lavish palaces, or setting the record for the shortest or most dangerous climb up Mount Everest- everybody’s got someone they’re looking to get ahead of. And when it comes down to it, that’s really the spirit of free enterprise that we love so much about this country… but that’s a debate for another time!
Small businesses are no different- and it’s the amount of competition that makes small businesses the most creative, talented and capable organizations on the planet.
So you’ve got some competition you need to take care of? We understand, and we’ve got a few tips to help so you can get ahead:
- Know Your Enemy. You can’t just hate your competition from afar- you’ve got to know what he’s doing in order to do better. What new automotive services is he offering? What’s something that his customers like about him, or that they just can’t stand? Do your research on him- check out his website, read up on his reviews. We’ve even heard of auto shop owners sending over a trusted friend, incognito to do a little scouting- it’s sneaky, but all’s fair right? The point is, you’ve got to know what’s out there to stay ahead- whether you’re competing against one or multiple shops.
- Price-match. People who found you on the web probably found your competition as well. It can be really helpful to let customers who are shopping around know that you’ll price-match the quote of another auto repair shop. And if you won’t? Give them a good reason why. If you tell an on-the-fence customer exactly what they’re getting with your service and why, they’ll appreciate the honesty.
- Put your best service forward. Do you have a service that you’re great at, but the competition isn’t? Utilize SEO to really focus on this service by aggressively targeting the consumers who are already looking for it. Pay Per Click campaigns are a great way to do this, but blogging will also give you good results with time.
- Don’t compete. Huh? What we mean is, sometimes it’s best to channel your efforts into another direction. If you and your competition have a lot in common, you’ve got to break that common ground to get ahead. SEO research and analysis is incredibly useful at telling you what auto repair and maintenance services people in your area are searching for- quite a few you probably even have thought of! Running a complete SEO report on your local area will give you ideas on new services to feature, and new ways to market that your competition hasn’t even thought of.
- Stand out. Way out. All too often we see auto shop owners in a rut. They’ve had the same look and approach for a long time, and they’re starting to blend in with the rest of the competition. Sometimes you just have to take the plunge. Give your shop a facelift so consumers can start to notice you again. A much cheaper way to do this would be to update your web presence. A custom website can work wonders on your web marketing: it gives you a chance to reevaluate your current strategy and is a great opportunity to rebrand.
- Think like your customer. Most business owners have a hard time with this- they’ve been working on the other side of the business interaction for a long time, so it’s difficult to get a different perspective. Ask friends and family who aren’t in the automotive business about their last experience at an auto shop. Find out what they liked and disliked, and try to see if you can figure out what would have made them really happy with their experience. Think about what you like about some businesses you visit as a customer and try to replicate those good things back at your shop.
- Now cater to them. Why do some shops seem to always stay on top, even among bigger, better or more advanced competition? It’s because the customers love them and are loyal to them. All the fancy equipment in the world can’t win over a customer who just doesn’t like you. Make a good, solid effort to improve your customers’ experience at your shop. Get to know them and their needs, do the best possible job every time, and wow them by going the extra mile. More tips on this here.