It can be tough for a local business to get ahead in a market saturated with big box stores and internet sales. Fortunately, you have a lot going for you that those companies don’t. You offer handcrafted wood products that can’t be found in stores with mass produced items. You can stand out and win the sales that they can’t.

The trick is to know your competition and to be able to explain to customers why they should choose you. You can get started by answering just a few simple questions:

What do your customers care about? Some people buy based on the best price. Others care more about quality. Some are looking for convenience. Usually it’s some combination, but generally one or two things will top the list. How do you find out? The easiest way is to just ask customers. Sometimes it will be clear based on the questions they ask you.

What does the competition talk about? Look at their advertisements. Are they bragging about sales? Do they boast that they have the largest selection? It could be that these are the things that customers care most about, but it could be the only things your competition has to offer. They may talk about those things because they don’t have anything else to highlight.

What is the competition not talking about? What they don’t say can be as important as what they do say. Do they talk about giving the best price but say nothing about service? Do they offer a big selection but say nothing about customization? Those could be areas where you can stand out.

How are you similar to your competition? Are your prices about the same? Do your wood products provide the same level of function?

How are you different than your competition? Are your prices lower? Is their showroom bigger? Do they have more convenient hours? Do you offer house calls?

You don’t have to beat your competition on every measure, only the ones that are most important to your customers. Maybe they have a bigger show room, but you can compensate by having photos of finished products and offering customization. Maybe their prices are lower, but you can talk about how your products will last longer and are cheaper in the long run.

Having this information will help you figure out what to say as you design fliers, reach out on social media and talk to customers. You will be able to answer questions even before your customers ask them and that will help you win the sale.