Prospects Know Your Competition – So Should You
Your prospective customers probably know all about your competition and they expect you to be prepared to tell them why you’re better. So… in order to take business away from your competitors, you have to know their strengths and weaknesses.
Keep separate files on each competitor. If any of your competitors are publicly held, send away for their 10K and annual report. If you buy a few shares of their stock you’ll be privy to all kinds of information. You really can’t know too much about your competition.
If you are in a somewhat complex business, then it’s not a bad idea to designate different people in your firm as specialists on each of your competitors (in addition to their regular job). Each of them is responsible for knowing all about one firm and for keeping their file current.
You do this because your never-ending challenge is to maintain differentiation for both your company and product.
Why do customers buy from your competitors? Competitive environments include more than just direct competitors. You are also affected by your suppliers, your own customers and the threat of new competitors or new approaches to your customers problems.
What does the competition claim to provide to the customer that is different and better? What is their unique selling proposition? What evidence do they use? Is it true or are they exaggerating? Is it relevant? Are they consistent?
Regardless of what they say, what do they really do best for the customer? What advantages do each of your top competitors promise the customer?
Knowing a lot about your competition is a great way to uncover your competitive advantages and ensure your customers get straight answers about why they should do business with you over your competition.