Know your competition as well as you know your customers.
Sometimes we get so focused attending to our customers, we forget to look around and see what else is happening with our competition and within the industry.
Karen Salmansohn, in her book “Ballsy: 99 Ways to Grow A Bigger Pair and Score Extreme Business Success” puts it this way…
One of the best ways to please your customers, is to understand the competition.
“Is your competition faster, stronger, better, juicer, more reliable, sexier, friendlier, snootier – and thereby just a wee bit more seductive to the customer? What can you offer the customer that your competition cannot – and does your customer presently recognize your advantage?”
Here are some ways to better know your competition:
- Attend Conferences – More than likely your industry has a conference. Attend it.
- Google Alerts – As mentioned in “Know Your Business” use Google Alerts with the names of your competitors to follow then they are in the news.here
- Shop Their Stores, Buy Their Products – Instead of making assumptions about what they offer and how they do business, experience it for yourself.
- Subscribe to their eNewsletter – Understand what they’re sharing with their customers.
- Follow their Social Media – Upcoming events, products, and programs are often teased on social media. Follow your competitions’ feeds.
- Trade Area Assessment – As part of our Step-By-Step Sales Guide we offer a Trade Area Assessment tool [Word Document] which helps you learn everything you want to know about your neighborhood.
- Visit Their Website – While not always the most up-to-date (think about your site), a great resource.
- Read Their Reviews – It is not only interesting to read what their customers are saying about their service and offerings, but how the competition may respond to customers.
- Google ‘Em – Google your competitors. And, look at the various results found in the news, on blogs, and in images.
- Google Alerts – Even better than manually Googling, have an alert sent to you automatically when key words appear online. Create a Google Alert. When your keywords show up on the interweb you will receive an email alerting you of that information. Use this to track your company name, your key product, your competition, and other helpful terms.
- Contact Your Competition – While we’ve declared this section “direct competition” if you feel there is enough distance (in miles, or offerings, or style of service) between your competitors that you feel comfortable calling them up – do so.