Retail

How to give your competition run for their money

by STEPHEN ONYEKWELU

February 22, 2018 | 1:10 am
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The purpose of any business is to create customers and the function of marketing is to attract prospects, of innovation is to transform the prospects.

A customer is defined as a person who pays a business for goods and services. If a person does not pay, they are not a customer.

The overriding question becomes how a business creates customers in order to stay profitable and give its competition a run for their money. Here are some tips, inspired by conversations with John-Paul Iwuoha, founder of smallstarter.com.

Build your reputation on quality

Whatever you are selling, make sure it is the best quality for the price you are asking. This is a fundamental and unquestionable rule.

The reality is, if you sell low-quality stuff, customers will still buy from you. But they will only buy from you once, or maybe twice. After that, they will avoid you like a disease – and worse still, they will tell their friends to avoid you too.

Of course there are customers who do not really care about quality; they just want the cheap stuff. These are not the kind of customers you want. They are only loyal until someone else is cheaper.

But if you sell good quality stuff on a consistent basis, you will build a great reputation. Your customers will stay loyal and happily recommend you to their friends and anybody else who cares to listen.

Due to porous borders, weak government regulations and poor compliance, several products on the African market are notorious for being sub-standard and low quality. It is almost the norm these days that some products do not work as they promise to.

The key to attracting more customers using this strategy is to be consistent. Do not sell good quality products and services sometimes. Sell them every time!

Be known for quality and customers will reward you handsomely.

Be better at customer service

Sadly, poor customer service is still a very big issue in Nigeria. Many businesses on the country, both big and small, suffer from it.

In addition to personal encounters, there are several horror stories about atrocious customer service experiences from across Nigeria.

Poor customer service is usually a sign of arrogance, ignorance or sometimes stupidity on the part of the business. The customer is the reason you are in business. If they do not feel respected and appreciated, they will take their money somewhere else. It is their money, remember?

The thing you should never forget is this: as long as your quality is right and your prices are fair, customers usually return where they feel welcome, valued, respected and appreciated.

Why? Because people buy from people they like. It is an emotional thing.

And you do not have to be a major corporation to provide great customer service. If you are a small business, a few basic and inexpensive changes will help.

First, always have a smile on your face; be warm, open and welcoming. It won’t cost you anything.

Second, get personal with your customers; but not too personal. Literally care. Ask about work, family and life in general. Be genuinely interested in them.

Third, and most important: listen. Even when they have a complaint, listen well. Do not blame, criticise or justify. Remember, it is the customer’s right to talk. Yours is to make sure you keep them happy and make that sale!

Be faster

For some customers, time is of utmost importance. This kind of customer does not like to wait. She wants the product or service now. Right now.

Speed is one of the most interesting ways to outdo your competition. Big companies can be very slow. Some small businesses are often lazy. But if you can provide the same service in less time, there will be customers who will be specifically interested in you.

Today, we live in the age of the internet. Everything moves fast and customers are becoming increasingly impatient with standing in queues and waiting for an order that takes forever to fulfil.

If you can deliver quicker than your competition, then you’ve carved a niche for yourself.

STEPHEN ONYEKWELU

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by STEPHEN ONYEKWELU

February 22, 2018 | 1:10 am
12893  |   93   |   0  |   Start Conversation

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