We are often being exhorted to find out about ‘the competition’. There may be a lot of competition out there, says Max Comfort, but most of it is in our own heads.
We are all unique, we all do things differently and we will all attract people to us who like the way we do things. If we are just starting out and are a bit fearful about how it is all going to work out, it is easy to imagine that there is an army of competitors out there: better equipped, better connected and far more skilled and experienced than us, and determined to do us down at every opportunity. Sure, there are always some competitors, but most of that army exists in our imagination.
Most people are very loyal if you treat them well
An antidote to fears around competition and worries about losing out to others is simply to focus fully on the client’s needs, giving them 100 per cent of your care, attention and energy. Most people are very loyal if you treat them well. People get into comfortable habits easily and they do not necessarily like change. The best way to deal with someone trying to poach customers – by whatever means – is to give your customers the very best service. Pay absolutely no attention to the ‘poacher’, however noisy or unpleasant they may be. As far as you are concerned, they do not exist. Even if some of your customers are tempted away, stay steady and give your very best to those who are left. You may well find that your old customers will come back.
Do not be tempted to think in terms of displacing someone who is already doing what you do or trying to lure away their customers. Their customers have come to them for a reason; yours will come to you for a different reason. The reasons might not match. Besides, you do not want your beautiful work spoiled by the fear that develops around aggressive competition.
Never complain to customers that leave you. Do the opposite - wish them well and thank them for their time with you. Send them away with a feeling of completion. Send them away with a real smile!
Competition is a choice. Your choice. You can choose to be in a competitive mode, seeing others as a threat, or you can be centred in your uniqueness and trust that no one can do exactly what you do. Being in competitive mode can drain a lot of your energy and your clients will subconsciously pick up the negative vibe. If you choose, competition can be a myth.