Whether you call it market research, corporate espionage or simply spying, many business owners do it. Most confess having monitored a competitor to help them adjust their business model. We asked different business owners from the social media how they usually observe a competitor and posted the tips in form of do’s and don’ts.
Research well – Scout where your local competitors are and visit those areas.
Play dumb- You can start by asking those stupid questions and slowly change it to what you would like to know. They’ll explain further.
Leverage technology – Use Google alerts to know more about your competitors.
Let them talk – Meet them at the conference and play dumb. A competitor could spend over 20 minutes explaining their sales figures, customer acquisition, staff pay and more. People enjoy talking about themselves, which they take more time to do.
Walk right in – You can walk into your competition shops and ask various questions on different products. If they ask whether you’re in the same business, be upfront about that.
Formally request for the information required – You can request for copies of a firm’s winning proposals to help you understand the pricing models they use. You can then use such information to revise your proposal plans, target projects, and pricing.
Be a customer – If you retail similar products as they do, you can visit their shops and buy a product. This will give you a chance to see their set up. You can also offer to supply them certain products just to see the purchase prices that they prefer.
Contact past and current employees – You can acquire important information from the competitors’ sales team to know more about their services or products. Also, talk to the company’s past employees to get the insider’s view.
Study their online presence – Do a Google search to know the competitor’s brand name, industry terms and product names. Check whether they’ve a Wikipedia page and whether their social media sites are on Google’s first page.
Don’t ever assume you’re much better – Some competitors may be offering better services or products that you do so be prepared for a surprise, as well.
Do not act shady – Feel free to visit them and ask them to show you around. If they’re unassuming and friendly, reciprocate; when people ask about your competitors, be sure to give them honest reviews.
Don’t get your own company into trouble- you can use your personal cell phone to ask price quotes from your competitors. You can also call their service department and feign a problem with the equipment you both service. This will help you to know their wait times, customer service and pricing.