When was the last time you researched your competitors?
It has never been easier for you to research the marketing you are competing against, than it is today. In minutes, you can tell if someone is serious competition to your business or simply a dabbler.
- You can read their website and tell instantly if it looks professional or not.
- Their site will also show you the range of services they offer and the guarantees they provide.
- In some cases, you can see what they charge.
- You can also check their social media footprint and see if they are using it to broadcast or connect. You can tell a huge amount about the culture of a business by looking at what they think is appropriate to share on social networks.
Over the past 25 years, I’ve worked with thousands of business owners. One of the things I see, over and over again, is a tendency to underestimate the service offered by their competitors. This is a potentially fatal mistake.
Here are 2 of the main reasons why this happens:
1. Caught-up in their own hard work and dedication
They work so hard on their own businesses, and care so passionately about their own clients, that they can’t imagine their competitors being equally committed. This is, of course, a fallacy. The vast majority of business owners work their ass off and try extremely hard to keep their clients happy.
We need to avoid underestimating our competitors, at all costs. It’s a mindset that causes us to ease off the gas. To coast. And in doing so, we make it way too easy for a hard-working competitor to eat our lunch!
2. Biased reporting
There are a lot of people out there, who tend to tell us what they think we want to hear. Others will tell us what they want us to believe.
Let me expand on that a little.
If you attract a new client, who was fired by one of your competitors for being a late payer / impossible to work with, they’ll seldom admit it. Instead, they’ll often say they left because the service was lousy. Similarly, when you hire people who previously worked for one of your competitors, they’ll often trash-talk about them.
Many business owners use the same suppliers as their competitors. If you ask a supplier how your competition are doing, you’ll often get negative reports. Don’t take too much notice. Those who are unprofessional enough to share news about their customers with you, are potentially unprofessional enough to give fake feedback.
In short, take your competitors seriously. Because it’s very easy to get a totally inaccurate picture. And as we discovered the last time the economy was this uncertain, some could well be sleeping giants.