Why Your Customers Use Competitors And How To Stop It

I had a client ask me a question about “What happens when a customer goes to somebody else [their competitor]?” This particular client had a customer go to a competitor for services when he didn't even ask for an estimate. So my client asked me, “Why would somebody do that?”


Does that sound familiar?

Customer retention requires more than just treating your customers right. The reality is unless you are top of mind with your customers, you're going to have these situations. They're going to go to other people. They're not even thinking about you. Your customers are interested in themselves. They are wrapped up in their own little world. And you are the last thing they are thinking of, even when they are looking for services you provide. What likely happened, is the customer was talking with a friend about their problem. So the friend says, “Use this guy. I used him for the same problem and he did a great job.” That's how easy it is to lose your customer. Now I'll show you how to stop that and really increase customer loyalty.

Want to prevent customers wandering off to your competitors? Stay top of mind. tweet this

How do you stay top of mind?

First of all, you make sure that you have a means to contact them. That means capturing their contact information (name & email). There's no way around it.

You must capture to convert. ~ Steve Rosenbaum

If you want to break free from the Yes/No dichotomy, you have to capture them in order to follow up with them to convert to a sale. No becomes “Not now, but maybe later.” That's the core of Email Marketing. I've heard countless times, “I've tried email marketing and it didn't work.” To that I say, “If you weren't getting satisfactory results, you probably weren't doing it right.”

Email Marketing Done Right

Starting out, you have to capture to convert. You're never going to be able to convert someone into a customer… into a repeat customer unless you have captured them. Once you've captured them, you can follow up with them forever, until they buy, die, or unsubscribe.

This is where people fail

Don't send them offer, after offer, after offer, after offer… What you need to send them is information that helps them understand

  • their problem
  • what the solution is
  • why they need to go to you to get that solution

Only after they have that information, does it make sense to send them an offer. Otherwise, it's just noise. An offer without the context of how it relates to them is meaningless. They say “That's nice, but I don't see why I need it.” When you keep sending offers out of context, the question in their mind is “Why do you keep sending me this stuff.” The next question is “Why do I keep letting you in my inbox?” as they hit the unsubscribe button.

The 3 E's

You need to make sure that they understand why they need it and how it helps them before you send an offer. Your messages need to cover the 3 E's

  • Educate
  • Entertain
  • Engage

When you send information that educates and informs them, it helps people. People like to be informed. Having that knowledge can help them (and you) now or in the future. It may be their buying decision. A lot of times, it's being able to knowledgeably contribute to a conversation when someone they know is near a buying decision.

Only 3-5%

Multiple studies have shown only 3% to 5% of people who visit a website, go to a store, answer an ad, etc. are Ready, Willing, & Able (RWA) to buy a given product or service. Have you heard (or used) the phrase “I'm just looking” when in a store? That's because people are often still in the research phase of the buying process. That means 95% to 97% of people will make their decision later. If you haven't captured them, you have no way of following up with them to influence that decision. But if you do capture them, you can Educate, Entertain, & Engage them with a nurturing process that builds Know Like & Trust (KL&T) until they are Ready, Willing, & Able to buy from you.

The 3 R's

The Right Message, to the Right Person, at the Right Time. It starts with having their name and email. Then you need them to actually open your messages. Once you have established a relationship where they understand you are not just sending them stuff trying to sell them on something, that you're really trying to help them, then they will actually want to open up your emails. If you send 3 E's content on a regular basis, they'll know what to expect. That's when your open rates go up. Do you see what happens there? When you send 3 E's messages and then a related offer (now in context), your offer becomes 3 R!

So to wrap this up

When you're sending quality 3 E's content, your customers willingly receive your information, and you stay top of mind with them. You're not going to have that problem of a customer saying “I forgot all about that you do that.” You can be that person who is “Johnny on the spot” when they are ready to buy. There's no way that they are going forget about you when you just sent them something that informs them of that problem they have or solution you offer. Because more than likely, what you send will trigger their decision to buy now. And who do you think they will buy from? The person who's been sending them information that consistently helps them understand their problem, the solution, and why they need to go to you to get it? Or do you think they will go searching the internet? Email marketing done right isn't just a newsletter and it isn't constant selling. It's Educating, Entertaining, & Engaging.

Would you like to stay top of mind with your customers so you're the first (and in their mind the only) choice?

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About The Author

Rob Calhoun

+ Rob Calhoun Helps small to medium businesses succeed by building systems for them that help them get new customers, retain customers, and re-energize past customers. Rob helps clients and marketers maximize the return they get from their online marketing efforts.


  • Mark Reynolds

    Reply Reply May 24, 2016

    I have been looking for articles like yours to make as a reference in my report. Can I use this? thanks in advance and have a nice day mate.

  • Zara

    Reply Reply June 4, 2016

    “The Right Message, to the Right Person, at the Right Time. It starts with having their name and email. Then you need them to actually open your messages.”
    I couldn’t agree more.

  • Gary Mattoc

    Reply Reply August 22, 2016

    Since moving from a life long corporate environment to owning a business I would have to say that your point #2 “Don’t Make Assumptions” is the most important point that I have learned. Every single one of my assumptions turned out wrong. I completely agree that we have to know our customers. And don’t make any assumptions!!!

    • Rob Calhoun

      Reply Reply August 22, 2016

      Gary, I’m confused. Your reply doesn’t seem to fit with this post.

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