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Win 'Em Over

All's fair in love and war. Go ahead, woo your rivals' clients.
June 1, 2002

Looking for new customers? It pays to consider who's already using your competitors' services or products. If you're wondering why those customers should do business with you, well, that's exactly the question you'll have to answer if you expect them to make a vendor change. So before you attempt to woo a customer away from a competitor, you must ask yourself these questions: What can I offer that's different from my competitor? How can I bring more to my customer's business? How can my product or service add more value to the potential customer's business?

Once you've answered all these questions, there's one thing left to ponder: What is the competition doing that you can do better, and what isn't the competition doing that you can offer the customer? Suppose your prospective customer has been buying from Acme Widgets for a long time. It's likely Acme is taking that business for granted or even becoming complacent about the service they provide. That's a perfect opportunity for you to offer your new prospect a "teaser," such as a week-long free trial (or 30 days, or a discounted price, or whatever makes sense for your business) so he or she can see that the kind of value you offer makes your company much better than the competition. Then you can say, "If we don't prove ourselves, stay with your present vendor. I promise you, once you try our product, you'll understand why changing suppliers is good for your business."

Approaches That Work

There are many ways to woo customers, and some are more direct than others. Here are three methods, starting with the most direct:

There are no magic tricks to wooing customers away from the competition. It's done by understanding what they need and finding out how you can best add value to their businesses. Once that happens, your energy, enthusiasm and success with others will eventually persuade your competitors' clients to make the switch.


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--Steve Cooper