Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"How Many Others Do 'Exactly' What We Do?"

In addition to the many challenges that businesses have in terms of marketing, sales, customer relations, money management, and so many other concerns, most businesses also have competition of some type. In the aging in place services field, we are no different. There are other contractors, consultants, therapists, designers, and specialists.

Maybe other companies offer very similar products or services - perhaps even the same to the casual observer. The other firms or individuals might be located in the same area or serve the same market. There even could be a similar price point.

Unless a business is quite new to the marketplace or offers a product or service that hasn't been around long enough for others to copy it, there is competition. It's what we do with that competition that makes the difference. It's how we neutralize it or actually capitalize on it that matters for us. Of course, with the internet and social media, it's easier for the consumer to be aware of other companies that they might not have been aware of in earlier times.

With the internet, it's not even vital that the competing company is located in the same area or even that near to the company a consumer is considering. This is especially true for retail products where delivery time, price, and other factors determine who gets the order more than where the store is located.

As for our aging-in-place services, let's look at how competition affects us. We provide a variety of products and services to our clients and customers - presumably in ways that aren't being done exactly by others or nearly as well. Essentially, we provide solutions - unique to each setting and household.

So, when a consumer calls us for an estimate or for an assessment or evaluation, are they contacting just us - because of a referral or because they have heard good things about us - or are there others that are going to be competing for the assignment? That's something we need to determine early on - before we agree to meet with them or during the initial interview.

Many other companies - sole practitioners up to larger firms - can claim to do what we do, but is this really the case? Are we exactly the same? Likely not.

First, are the other companies CAPS-trained? Many probably are not. Make that work for us. It an important part of our story and one to be accentuated. let the consumer know what this means to them and why we already have an edge on anyone else they are talking with who does not have this designation.

Learn what the competition's experience level is in working with the type of home or setting the customer is presenting. How many similar situations as have they completed successfully?

How about our strategic network - also of CAPS-trained individuals and firms? Few people in our immediate marketplace can approach an assignment such as that being requested, or one for which we are actively marketing ourselves, with the teamwork, level of experience, and intuitive ability to deliver what they need at the desired budget - whether a medical component or special equipment is part of it or not.

Let's not let someone who is similar to us - because they also are a contractor, remodeler, therapist, or designer - claim to be the same as or even better than us when we can make the case for ourselves and our team that this just isn't the case.

No other company - even within a franchise organization - is going to be exactly the same as another. The products may be similar or even in some cases the same, the approach to doing the work may be similar just because of what is required to complete the job, and the final price may be comparable. However, no one else is us. We have our own values, thought processes, personality, and history that we bring to each job.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Master Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555. Also, check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.