It’s absolutely vital to know your competition in order to sell your products to their best advantage. It’s advisable to keep on eye on them at all times, since knowing who they are and what they’re offering can mean you are much better placed to stand out and maximise your sales.
It’s arguably unprofessional to criticise your competition when selling, but you can certainly play it to your advantage if you have a clear idea of their weaknesses. For this reason, if it is possible to get information from the customers about previous experiences with the competition, it could be very valuable.
It is also important to know if there are any new entrants to the market to ensure you retain your USP. If you have a good grasp of your industry, you’re likely to hear about it from if someone comes along with something new to offer, but use internet research and your contacts as well.
Don’t just learn about the competition’s product and pricing however. Whatever you use to sell your offering is important – the level of customer service, how it is sold, any customer loyalty devices, for example. And it also useful to know about the company itself – age, size, number of staff, even their accounts which are accessible at Companies House. Ask them for brochures, price lists, or any other marketing products.
From an entrepreneur’s point of view, if it turns out that your competition is making more sales than you with good reason, you know things need to be changed. From the salesperson’s point of view, there’s no better way of finding out how to make your offering irresistibly different and convincing than knowing you’re better than the competitors. Of course, this is what makes competition a healthy thing – driving you to be the best you can be.