Steal Your Competitors' Clients

If your best prospects are someone else's customers, you better have a strategy for wooing them away.

By Steve Von Loren

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Sadly, despite all the advances in the fields of manufacturing and DNA research, there is still no new client factory. It's up to entrepreneurs to attract and retain customers, and all your most profitable future clients already exist. Many of them probably belong to your competitors, so it's up to you to persuade them to do business with you instead.

This is a skill business owners can learn. At its base, it comes down to advertising, something successful entrepreneurs are doing anyway. Plus, if you're going after your competitors' clients, your chances for success increase for two reasons: You're targeting only those prospects who have already purchased or are in the process of purchasing a product or service similar to yours, and you're rewarding the competition's best clients for taking immediate action while showing you proof of their purchasing intent.

To reach those prospects interested in making a purchase, here are five ideas you can use right now in your display or internet advertisements:

  • "If you have received a written estimate from any of our competitors, show us proof and you'll receive a special discount at our establishment."
  • "Show proof that you received our competitor's sales letter, sample or brochure and instantly receive $25 toward your next purchase with us."
  • "If you currently own an XYZ Widget, you immediately qualify for an instant credit of $20 toward our products and services."
  • "If your do-it-yourself home repair project didn't turn out right, show us your receipt for materials purchased, and you'll receive an immediate discount up to 10 percent off your repair bill."

Before worrying about the cost of gaining customers this way, remember that your initial rebate or incentive offer is a one-time acquisition cost. The lifetime value of acquiring this new client could easily be worth thousands of dollars or more to your business.
For this strategy to work, your ads must reach your competition's clients. Research the places your competitors advertise--online and in newspapers, magazines and the Yellow Pages--and advertise there, too.

Then, when creating your next advertising campaign, ask yourself if your incentive is irresistible enough to instantly steal business away from competitors. With enough incentive and reward for taking immediate action, you'll have created an advertisement tempting enough to accomplish your goal.

Steve Von Loren, a business coach with more than 14 years of experience, is the author of the resource guide How to Strategically Get Your Competitors' Best Clients for Only Pennies on the Dollar.

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