Just recently, we learned that we lost a bid for a branding campaign. I always like to know why we lose a bid so we have a better understanding of our competition, our consumers’ motives, and how or if to adjust accordingly. For this particular bid, the owner of the business told me that his wife's best friend’s son was into designing logos. How does an agency compete with that? It seems almost as if everyone has a friend who has a friend, who has some connection to creative or web designers as well as someone in marketing. It is always possible to debate not hiring “the wife’s best friend’s son” but sometimes it is more beneficial to pick and choose battles wisely.
How are we able to anticipate avoiding losing potential work to the competition? We compiled a list on five ways in which you may lose work to a competitor, and how to manage these challenges:
1. Right Place, Right Time
When shopping for the perfect gift for a family gathering for the next weekend, I received an email offering me “Buy One, Get One Free” bundt cakes. Well as it just happens, my family really enjoys bundt cakes and that bundt cake email offer sealed the deal for me. I needed a gift, they offered one that would not only satisfy my needs, but they threw in a deal! They gained a customer because they presented themselves in the right place at the right time.
This may take some initial networking and research, but finding out when a client is looking for a specific service and handing to them on a silver (no, golden) platter makes the process easier for both parties to pitch and accept and a solution. You may even want to add in an exclusive offer to sweeten the deal.
2. A Friend
Word of mouth is considered the most powerful type of referral, even more so when it comes from someone trusted. If there is even a hint of connection there (mom’s best friend’s son’s roommate), it removes the apprehension of working with someone who is not as familiar, and also eliminates the stressful search process. This one is especially difficult to combat because there can be a mutual benefit to hiring a friend with the mentality of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.”
However, as wonderful as it can be partnering with a friend, the downside can potentially lead to an unpleasant interaction. If personalities do not mesh well when it comes down to business, or egos get in the way of the work production, things can get messy. We suggest to clients (and friends) to avoid going down this route as to prevent any uncomfortable strain on personal relationships.
3. Search Engine
More often that not, a quick keyword search into your favorite search engine is the go-to method for initial research. How often do you venture from the first page of search engine results? Did you know that Google has a second page?
Obviously, the ultimate goal is having a stellar SEO (search engine optimization) plan, but if everyone knew how to get their Google ranking on the first page, strategic searches would be impossibly irrelevant. Offering some sort of eCommerce will help boost your rankings, as well updating site content and blogs.
4. Smartphone Search
There are countless programs and technology at our fingertips, regardless if it is on a smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Apps such as Yelp or even Maps are being used more and more to search for places or services, so if a business is not currently high-ranking on the program the smartphone is pulling from, a competitor might show up in the top results listings.
Location is still everything. This increases value in your rankings as operating systems now pull from location services. The closer you are to the city center, the more likely you will show up on searches. Additionally, reviews can tremendously help or hurt your business, especially if they are consistent ratings. Do you ever check the reviews and ratings of an establishment before deciding take your business there? Chances are, one star ratings will cause for immediate elimination, but five star ratings still do not instill confidence until further descriptions have been reviewed. Another factor is how the business under scrutiny reacts to their evaluations as we can see in online forums such as the Better Business Bureau and Facebook.
It may be as simple as your potential client just forgot about you/your agency during the hustle and bustle of life. This is why it is so important to stay top of mind and check in with your potential client consistently, so you are conveniently there when they are finally ready to hire someone for services.
Check in with them every month or so via phone or email. Don’t always remind them that your services are available, and keep conversations light by speaking about business as well as topics relevant to their personal lives. If time and expenses allow it, set up a standing monthly coffee or lunch. This is a great opportunity to keep each other updated on your specific industries, while maintaining friendly conversation.
For more tips and strategies, visit www.gomindstorm.com.
About Mindstorm Communications Group:
Mindstorm Communications is a full-service marketing, branding, and design agency located in Charlotte, NC.