Time to Steal Market Share

Time to Steal Market Share
Time to Steal Market Share

If your overall market isn’t growing (maybe it’s shrinking?), one of your best survival strategies is to steal market share from your competitors. Yeah, that’s a dog-eat-dog, Darwinian strategy, but today it’s a popular option.

Just catch today’s WSJ, “As Big Law Stumbles, Smaller Law Picks up the Pace.” Companies, like AutoNation Inc. are farming out work to much smaller law firms who “have more flexibility in billing.” The Journal cites  BTI Consulting Group’s recent survey of 550 large companies—38% of their legal contracting went to smaller law firms, a 25% growth from 2007!

This isn’t just about the legal market. It’s true for all markets, including yours.

Small businesses, by definition, ARE more nimble than larger companies… and generally, more hungry! There are fewer layers of management between the customer and the business owner, so it’s likely any given deal may get priority/first-class handling.

And given that project budgets and scope may also be shrinking, it may be the case that small businesses are the best positioned to (as my regional manager, Frank Gill used to say) be like a barracuda and swoop in and steal the fish right off the hook.

That’s stealing market share.

So where do you begin?

  1. Secure your own big clients. If that means burning some airline miles to get out in front of them, do it now BEFORE your competition beats you to it. Trust me, it’s much easier to keep a customer happy than trying to win them back once they’ve made the decision to switch.
  2. Grab every lost proposal from the past 24 months. Get your sales team on the telephone and find out what’s going on. It’s likely that at least 20% are experiencing some pricing pressure or other problems you can alleviate.
  3. Steve Kaplan's Bag the Elephant
    Steve Kaplan's Bag the Elephant
    Take a look at your sales funnel. For those deals you normally wouldn’t be chasing because of the client’s past arrangement with your bigger competitor, find out what you need to do to steal the business out of someone else’s revenue forecast.
  4. And conversely, if you’ve got deals that are “in the bag,” beware of your smaller competitor. Sure, turnaround is fair play, but it doesn’t have to be that way. At least not for you.
  5. Pick up a copy of Steve Kaplan’s, “Bag the Elephant!: How to Win and Keep Big Customers.” Steve’s a friend of mine, and an exceptionally shrewd sales king who took his small business into the stratosphere with one BIG HAIRY deal with P&G.

What’s your strategy for Stealing Market Share?