Competition can be a good thing. Others entering into a market that you are in usually validates there is a need to be met, and having options is typically a great thing for the consumer. Heck, in many cases competitors can even be great referral partners. For example, TitleTap has been able to be both a referral source and has been a recipient of referrals by other website providers serving the same market as us. We also see it all the time between our attorney and title agent customers whether referring business to each other due to limited staff constraints, differences in expertise or areas of geographic scope all in an effort to serve the customer the best way possible.

A COVID Story: Two Companies Working Together

For example, last year we had a customer of ours be contacted by a competitor of theirs to help them keep up with the influx of closings. The problem wasn’t lack of business, it was in fact the opposite – too much business. But by being friendly competitors and not bashing each other’s companies, they were able to create a win-win to work together. After all, “a rising tide floats all ships.” All can be well between competitors if you compete fairly and respectfully….but the reality is not all companies are fundamentally managed to compete this way.

A TitleTap competitor story…

Late last year we were made aware of a new competitor in the Washington DC area trying to serve Title Agents with their digital marketing needs. While we are in full support of competition and having options for customers to choose from, the competitor went about it by taking cheap shots at our customers and trying to tarnish our reputation. There is an unspoken code of ethics especially in a community driven industry, such as the land title business, that you simply do not break. Maybe you can relate to a competitor who targeted your business in a way that crossed lines. Below are 3 ways to actually get business from your competition by letting your actions and quality of service speak for itself.

Tip #1: Keep Competitors Out Of Your Marketing

Comparative advertising has been around since the early 1900s. This is simply comparing your product or service with another. But the problem is, you have to be careful with what you say. According to the BBB’s National Advertising Division: “claims that expressly or implicitly disparage a competing product should be held to the highest level of scrutiny in order to ensure that they are truthful, accurate, and narrowly drawn.” In addition, the Lanham Act states that “one could incur liability when the message of the comparative advertisement is untrue or uncertain, but has the intention to deceive consumers through the implied message conveyed.” In other words, the information must be truthful and accurate or you could pay the price. So as a good rule of thumb, don’t mention your competitors.

“…as a good rule of thumb, don’t mention your competitors.”

In our case, without really knowing how we deliver our products and services, the culprit chose to negatively bash us to our own customers and partners. These are people we have a long professional relationship with and in many cases have grown to even know them on a personal level, and consider them good friends. It not only comes off as unprofessional, but our customers and partners happen to be fellow business owners who recognized this amateur move a mile away. …What’s that saying about those who “assume” again? At any rate, there is no shortage of negative press these days. Just plug into the daily news if you need a boost of it. When competing, be different, be a source of good energy and positive vibes along the way. By all means share the strengths of your business, your process, your expertise, your focus, even how you may compare to others. But do it in a respectful way, clear of negative talk, especially when slapping your name on it in writing!

Tip #2: Don’t Spam!

Privacy is serious business. Especially in an industry where cyber fraud is at an all-time high. People are already leary of emails they receive. As such, you probably shouldn’t spam your competitors’ customers. Our personal information is sacred and unless we give others permission to use it, that information should remain off-limits. This is why we have Anti-Spam laws in place. Violating these laws puts a business at risk of getting reported and blacklisted from popular email exchanges that could impact communication channels with whatever legitimate business they do have. It is simply not worth it. If a provider is willing to bend their ethics to poach names and email addresses, can they be trusted with the information you may provide them as one of their customers? Where is the line drawn and what won’t they do just to win business? How are they going to treat you if and when you decide not to work with them? Don’t give prospects a reason to question your intentions while you are trying to compete. Respect their privacy, get permission first, and don’t SPAM!

Tip #3: Remember “The Golden Rule”

Ah, the golden rule, “treat others how you want to be treated.” This applies to how you choose to deal with competition as well. Sure, we all like to win, but it should not be at the expense of self-respect and using unethical practices.

Customer Example

In our customer example above, had one of the competitors bashed the other, they never would have been able to strike a deal – resulting in one of the companies to go out of business and the other to miss out on the opportunity to serve the overflow during a busy season.

TitleTap Example

In our case, had our competitor simply reached out to introduce himself and got to know us, we may have been able to refer business to him. In fact, we love our referral partners. Not every lead we get is a great fit for our products. Don’t forget the golden rule in your own marketing when competitors come on the scene. Get to know them to see if there are any synergies that exist or opportunities to help each other. It won’t be in every case, but you never know what the future holds so don’t limit your possibilities by burning bridges.

To Recap

Competition can be expected, whether it comes to you or you go to it. While in the race, keep your strategy to compete on the up and up. Try not to mention your competitors in your marketing, respect privacy by not spamming and remember the golden rule. While we can’t control how others may compete in the marketplace, each one of us can decide for ourselves a best practice that reflects the personality of our company and who we are as people. Very seldom can you go wrong by helping others, being respectful, and staying positive. So if you’d like to get more business from your competition the classy way, schedule a consultation and demo today to see how TitleTap can help you accomplish more with less.
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TitleTap provides turn-key websites and marketing tools like Video, Social Media Management, and Email Marketing for Title Agents and Real Estate Attorneys. Get more great marketing tips like this specifically relevant to Real Estate, Title Insurance, Mortgage Lending, and Law by subscribing or visiting our blog above.
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