Businesses need to know their competition, especially in today’s hyper-competitive business environment. Knowing what the competition is up to allows you to develop unique selling points (USPs) which will encourage buyers to purchase from you.
In order to understand the customer experience offered by your competitors, try “mystery shopping” your nearest direct competitors. Things to note include: the customer experience, staff-customer interaction, how staff dress and present themselves, the business environment and little touches such as complementary tea or coffee. Most important of all is to take note of the sales process – how do your competitors go about selling products or services to the customer? Do they suggest how their product or service can add value? Do they offer a demonstration? How do they close the sale?
Products and Services
Keep an eye out for any new services or products your competitors offer. Pay close attention to the quality of their brochures, the appearance of their products and any new or interesting ways in which they add value for their customers. You should create reports which compare your business to the leading competitors in your particular sector of the market. You should circulate these reports to your management and sales teams with a view to encouraging them to implement new ideas and approaches which will improve your business against your competitors.
Once you know the specific details about your competitor’s people and their products or services, your sales team will be more informed and can develop the USPs that they can use when challenged by customers as to “why should I buy from you and not from your competitor?” Your sales team can then focus on the strengths of your products or services and encourage your customers to do the same.
If you are at a disadvantage to your competitors in terms of your pricing, work with your sales team to prepare a checklist of the specific features and benefits unique to your product or service. Have each sales person practice presenting this checklist, as this particular part of the sales process will usually be enough for the prospect to decide to purchase from you.