Simply put, you cannot know too much about your competition. But first you need to fully understand who your competition really is. That would be anybody who can offer solutions to the problems your patients and prospective patients are having.
The list includes but is not limited to other chiropractors, medical doctors, physical therapists, massage therapists, doctors of osteopathy, vitamin stores, gyms and who else?
You need to do extensive and endless research on each of these direct and indirect competitors.
Of course, you start with the obvious such as location, hours of operation, insurance carriers accepted where applicable, years in business, where their marketing dollars are being spent and not only where spent but when and how much.
A visit to their location will tell you a lot about everything from parking to availability of public transportation.
If possible become a ‘mystery shopper’ and have someone pay a visit as well. Learn whatever you can about the interior of the competing facility as well as from the size and layout of the waiting area to whatever other important scraps of information you can gather.
How was the phone answered and how well or not well were your questions answered when you called as a prospective patient or customer.
There are very few ‘secrets’, if any, that you could not gather information on if you just make the effort.
Okay, you’ve now spent weeks, maybe even months, gathering all this information about your ‘competition’. To do what with?
To learn and copy what is working and to discard what is not.
How do you know if it’s working? Well, first of all it’s very easy to find out how well your competition is doing. By simply doing a ‘head count’. Prospective business owners do it all the time by counting the traffic. Hire someone to actually count the number of people who visit a competitor on a particular day or week and you’ll be able to make some realistic, accurate projections.
So if the traffic is impressive and the form of advertising or marketing is being repeated, we can safely assume that the media is effective.
But the opposite is true.
Research may uncover a market untapped and unserved.
There are five competing chiropractors and none of them have Saturday hours. Will I know when I would be open and what I would be promoting heavily for the convenience of my client base?
This ‘fact finding’, then analysis, then implementation process is ongoing. It should be part of your business culture, part of your inner being.
Two simple principles:
- You want to know everything possible (and most everything is) about everyone competing for the same dollars you are.
- You want to have a system in place to gather the information continuously, evaluate it and use it.
If your competition is doing something that is working, you want to copy it and improve upon it.
If your competition is not doing something (type of marketing, servicing a market segment) is it because they tried it and it didn’t work or maybe it’s because they were too lazy or too comfortable to even try.
In business (and, yes, you are a business) there really are no secrets.
But you need a plan and the will and desire to execute it to find out the treasure trove of information that is yours for the digging and the rewards that are to follow.
Remember every competitor (direct and indirect) and every morsel of information you can gather and then use it.
Very few businesses (yes, that’s you again) understand and embrace this marketing strategy and that’s why very few businesses (hopefully not yours) come close to reaching their true potential.
The world is waiting for you. Go get it.
Want to talk? Call me at 1-800-696-7788, ext. 112 – 6:15 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. EST.