Just because you serve the same customers doesn’t mean you have to be sworn enemies with your competitors. As a business, your goal is to serve your customers. And if serving them best means being friendly with the folks who also serve your customers, so be it! Your customers will appreciate that their needs are your top priority, rather than beating out the competition.
- A while back I was having dinner with a friend in my ‘hood in Philadelphia. The restaurant we were eating in for some reason didn’t have ice. So the owner ran across the street to one of the other restaurants to get some for my friend. The other restaurants are clearly his competitors, but he made a point to let us know that they all help each other out. Their collective goal was first and foremost to serve their customers.
- Some airlines do a decent job of being competitor friendly by partnering with each other for loyalty rewards programs. I used to have a ton of miles with the Star Alliance. I was able to rack up the miles more quickly by flying on the partner airlines. The alliance between the airlines also worked in my favor when I cashed in those points for award travel for some cool trips.
- Make friends with other people who do what you do. There are plenty of customers to go around, and as you all work to serve your customers, you’ll each get better in the process.
- By working together with other businesses who serve your customers, you may find opportunities to get introduced to more customers that you wouldn’t have had access to otherwise. So look for opportunities to get introduced to a wider audience (and where applicable to return the favor).
Application for your business
- Make a list of three businesses that serve your customers in a similar manner to you. Next write down how you will establish a connection or strengthen the connection with the key parties within those businesses.
- Brainstorm three ways you can work with other businesses to serve your customers better.
- Brainstorm three ways you can work with other businesses to expand the number of customers you reach.
1-22. Build a relationship with your customers (series)
23. Solve your customers’ problem
24. Know your stuff
25. Add value
26. Do what you say you’re going to do
27. Exceed your customers’ expectations
28. Be a purple cow
29. Be consistent
30. Be accessible
31. Always be one or two steps ahead
32. Give your customers what they didn’t even know they needed or wanted
33. Give your customers an easy button
34. Make common inconveniences more convenient
35. Respect your customers’ time
39. Teach your customers something new
41. Be relevant (evolve with the times)
42. Let your customers customize their experience
43. Give your customers something one-of-a-kind