I’d like to share with you a thought. This does not come from a specific question, rather it comes from a lot of conversations that I’ve had. Most likely with smaller companies … I’m going to call it a smaller company under a million dollars in revenue. The premise is this: There is a very, very high probability that you are losing in your marketplace, that you’re losing ground in your marketplace. You are essentially getting your butt kicked, and you don’t realize it.
There are companies doing very well. Yes, we all have labor problems. Yes, we’re all having problems finding people. It’s massive. It can’t be understated how big of a problem it is. In spite of that, there are a lot of companies that are gaining traction. They are gaining market share. They’re growing. They’re making more money. They are doing well. It’s hard, but they’re doing it.
If you feel like that your marketing doesn’t work, if you feel like there are literally no employees to hire, if you feel like everything is just kind of what it is, if you’re stuck, but you feel everybody’s stuck, I’ll tell you that’s not what’s going on. The reason why this is really important is I want to make this point: When negative things are happening to your business, you don’t realize it.
What I mean by that is the marketing that a competitor is doing is fairly invisible to you. Yes, you might see their marketing piece, but you don’t know if that piece is performing at gaining a 1% return while your piece is returning an eight of a percent return. You don’t know how well something is doing. You don’t know if internally they’re getting a 60% conversion on lead to conversion, meaning new client, whereas you’re getting 34%.
You don’t know if they’re using a technology system and technology that allows them to run their company with a few people instead of the number you have, or lets the team members that they have do much bigger and more efficient things. Or, if maybe that company using technology is upselling, you’re not. Or, if they have better customer service, you’re not. Therefore, the stream of events is they get better reviews, you don’t. They get more word-of-mouth, you don’t.
You don’t know any of that stuff. You can’t see it. It’s invisible to you. So you might see a new competitor come in the marketplace and you’re like, “Oh my gosh, another competitor. Their website looks so good. Everything looks great. They’re going to hurt me. Oh, and now I’m seeing all their trucks in the road,” but then you look at your business a year from now and you’re like, “Oh, they didn’t have any impact in my business. I’m getting about the same number of leads. I’m getting about the same,” whatever.
But the thing you don’t know that happened is they’re getting three times more leads than you, and they’re sucking up the leads from the growing economy where frankly you should be getting more. Not to mention, all the extra money you’re spending on marketing is costing you money because it’s not bringing you more leads. They’re actually taking leads from you, meaning you’re spending more to get the same number of clients year after year, so your marketing expense is growing while your not bringing on any additional clients because they’re eating up capacity in the market.
You also don’t know that four of your competitors in the marketplace went out of business. You should have seen the clients leaving their business, call you, they didn’t, instead they called this client. All that stuff’s invisible. The only way you can counteract it is assume that someone else is beating you, out-thinking you, out-working you in some way that you don’t know about. You’re not going to find out what it is.
The only thing you can do is make sure that you are growing your marketing abilities that you’re spending on marketing, and you’re not turning your marketing off every summer after the spring rush, that you’re implementing technology, you’re becoming more efficient, that you’re constantly training your teams, you’re constantly upgrading your teams, you’re improving your customer service, you’re improving your quality, you’ve got people doing inspections. It’s hard. It’s a ton of work.
But again, here’s the takeaway: The only thing you can assume, because there is no way to know for certain, but I can guarantee it’s happening, somebody, probably several of your competitors, are chopping away at your market share. They’re chopping away at the leads that you should be getting, that you’re not getting. They’re chopping away at your profit margines. They’re winning in some way that you don’t know about it.
The only way to counteract it is to get everything right that you have control over from marketing, to getting paid fast, to customer service, to quality, to team, to recruiting, and you’d be working on that constantly every day, all the time. As you soon as you finish one task, you move to the next. After you get through that list when you make progress, you go back and you start over and you prove customer service again. You work on marketing again, and you keep doing it over and over.
You don’t get comfortable, you don’t get complacent. Because if you do, somebody else is going to silently win the game. You won’t know it’s happening, so you won’t panic, but it’s happening.