Five Surefire Ways To Drive Your Competition Crazy

    July 1, 2004

Taking an aggressive stance to your competition is not the most productive way of running a business. However, there are times when some people just get a little too cocky and need knocking down a peg or two. If you want to put an annoying competitor in his or her place then these tips are for you.

1. Keep Friends Close – Keep Enemies Closer

Befriend your competitors and learn all you can about their business needs, challenges and wants. In essence “Know Your Enemy” but don’t give away too much about yourself. Then, if they get too big for their boots, go for their weak spots to undermine them.

2. Give Your Competitors Your Business

“What?!?” I hear you cry! Yes, give your competitors all the leads you don’t want. That means pass on the desperate- blame-meisters and long-term-tyre-kickers. Your competitors will think you’re nice and harmless. But you’ll be sending them a Trojan-Horse-Load of trouble!

3. Own Customer Brain-Time

Make sure what you’re saying is more memorable and more in tune with your customer’s needs than what your competitors are saying. The easiest way to do this is to describe things in your customer’s terms and shut up about yourself.

Also, make it your job to stay in touch with your customers and your competitors’ customers, by providing highly valuable freebies at regular intervals. A newsletter or eZine is ideal for this purpose.

4. Patronise Your Competitors

Yes, in both senses of the word. If they’re doing well, tell them you’re impressed with the “effort” they’ve put in recently. In fact, tell your prospects (ie their customers and yours) that it seems they’ve come on leaps and bounds in recent months. All the time be sure to imply that if they keep this up they may even be as good as you some day.

Another way of patronising your competitors is to actually give them your patronage. That is buy something that they’ve got in order to really check out how good or bad they are. And if you’re feeling really mean become the customer from hell and complain tirelessly.

5. Steal Their Customers

Nothing works better than this for causing trouble. If your competitors are worthy then you’ll have trouble coercing their best customers away but it’s still possible. Even if they’re doing a bad job, people will need a pretty good reason (ie they mess up or you offer something much better) to do something different.

So a stealthy approach would be to seduce a member of their team (preferably with a customer-facing/sales role) over to your company. If the person you head-hunt has good customer relationships, then customers will follow them as if by magic. If you think this approach is unethical then it probably is – don’t do it. I don’t believe I’m in a position to judge your morals or ethics so I include this tactic so that you can decide for yourself.

Another trick that works is to set up Free trials/audits designed to point out flaws in the work of your competitors without ever naming them. Then, once you’ve scared the customer enough, they’ll be more inclined to consider the better alternative – ie you.

A Final Word Of Warning

As you can imagine, these dangerous tips can quite easily cause a war with your competitors – which is almost always destructive. So take my advice; only use my dangerous tips if you’re attacked first and when you’ve struck a telling blow, let it go and get on with being your best.

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“Dangerous” Debbie Jenkins is a marketer, author and
stand-up comedian who helps the owners of small expert
businesses get more success by doing and spending less.
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