To be successful you will need to keep an eye on your competitors. I am not talking about doing any dirty tricks like rummaging through their rubbish to find sensitive documents, I am talking about looking at their advertising. What are they offering? and how much? Potential customers don’t know who is the better tech, but they do know who has the better advertising and the best deal.
Something I like to do is collect advertising from different computer repair groups, especially from the largest businesses. When I was in America this year I visited a Best Buy and gathered as many Geeksquad marketing materials I was allowed to take. Although Geeksquad have a reputation of having incompetent technicians and being overpriced (42,000 Google results for “geeksquad incompetent”), they are amazing marketers and sales people.
It is highly likely that Geeksquad have paid expensive professionals to design their marketing materials, so why not take some inspiration from their marketing? Im not saying copy them, but see what looks good on their ads, what stands out and the format they do it in. It obviously works because they are one of the biggest computer repair groups in America.
During my interview with the Computer America radio show, I mentioned that I called a competitor and asked about their prices. For those of you who haven’t heard the interview yet, I saw a competitors marketing in the local paper which had two coupons. One of the coupons said “Free Callout” and the other said “Free PC Health Check”.
How could this guy be making money with free callouts? I called up to find out.
I told him my computer was having issues and asked him what his prices were, he said it was $70 per hour. I then asked if there was a callout fee and he said no. It turns out that the coupon made no price difference and it was just a marketing gimmick to be more attractive to potential customers. It worked; smart move.
I then asked about the free PC Health check coupon. He said that he’ll go out to my location and look for problems with my computer such as viruses, spyware, adware and other potential issues. If he doesn’t find anything there is no charge, if he does find something then he begins charging his regular hourly rate. I am sure most computer technicians will be able to find something on a clients machine that you can charge for.
In my area, there are a good handful of businesses selling new computers. When I am near their shops I’ll drop in and grab a price list showing me how much their new computers are going for. I’ll checkout the parts they are putting into them and make note of anything potentially bad. If a client comes to me and says that they can get a new computer $100 cheaper over at the competitors shop, I can educate them saying “that the other companies machines are cheaper because they use cheap power supplies in their cases (or whatever else I found was bad with their machines). A cheap power supply is more likely to cause lockups, crashes and even damage your hardware. For $100 more you are getting a much more reliable machine as we only use good power supplies in them”.
Of course, only do this if its true otherwise its slander. Also, only do this if the client mentions it, don’t have it in your regular sales pitch.
As they say, keep your friends close and your enemy’s even closer. Don’t do any dirty tricks and waste too much of their time. After all, they are another business just like you, but its definitely worth keeping an eye on them.
Does anyone else keep an eye on their competitors? If so, what do you do?