This Expert's Corner article is brought to you by CommissionCrowd - The Leading B2B Commission-Only Sales Platform
We all know that competition can be scary, but in reality we all have competitors in our respective industries. Instead of being phased, we need to be pro-active and smart to gain market share.
Below (in no particular order) we share a number of top tips from of the industry's most experienced sales and business experts to show you how to gain the upper hand over your competitors and supercharge your business.
1. Identify And Leverage Competitor Advertising Strategy
Sabri Suby - Founder and Head of Growth, King Kong
Firstly, you want to identify who is the biggest player(s) in the market for your industry. Identify who’s ranking for Google AdWords, who’s ranking best organically, which Facebook Ads are you seeing the most of?
You then want to use a platform like SimilarWeb, where you can put your competitor’s URL in and see exactly where they are getting their traffic from.
When you identify where your competitors are getting their traffic from, you then want to move over to SEM Rush and put the competitor’s URL in to download all their ads, all the URLs they’re sending traffic to and you want to look for a commonality of how long they are running these ads and where they seem to be sending the most traffic to.
You can learn a lot by identifying campaigns running month on month that are increasing. You will be able to identify the exact landing pages your competitor is sending traffic to, you then essentially know which offers are converting. If these offers weren’t converting, they wouldn’t keep running the ads.
You want to funnel hack what is working for your competitors, there is no need to re-invent the wheel. Go find out what the best traffic source is for your competitors and start here for your business, once it’s profitable, you can then start looking at being creative and plan to scale out your traffic.
Building your marketing strategy this way allows you to learn from the hundreds of thousands of dollars your competitor has spent on ads, whilst spending little yourself.
2. Create Your Own Consumer Reports
Alice Kemper, President - Sales Training Werks
Consider yourself as the Consumer Reports Magazine and you’ll learn exactly what you need from your competitors to gain the upper hand.
Are you even familiar with Consumer Reports? At one time it was the be-all end-all of product reviews. Now we have sites like Amazon, Wire Cutter and Authority Adviser to review products and companies.
This is how the Consumer Reports mindset works for you to gain the competitive advantage:
Consumer Reports selects 3-5 similar products by different manufacturers. Think refrigerators by Samsung, GE, Whirlpool and the likes. They then identify each refrigerator feature and scores each one from poor to over the top excellent based on each manufacturer. You look down the columns and see who has the most check marks in the excellent column and voila… your decision is made!
Now, here’s how you can do your very own consumer Reports type review:
Create a visual comparison graphic to compare yourself against your competitors. In the first column list your company name and all of your features. In the next five columns place the names of your competitors.
Take each feature and place a check, check minus or check plus mark in the competitor’s columns. Now you have a visual of each competitor’s strengths and weaknesses as well as features you both may have but the competitors aren’t even talking about!
Imagine how much easier it becomes to build your value proposition, better discovery questions, and responses to barriers that may be keeping your prospects from buying.
Also, keep this in mind… you really don’t have any competition if you observe then ignore and become the best collaborative sales consultant. How? Become the strategic business partner today’s buyers prefer to buy from. You want your competition worried about you, not the other way around.
3. Don't Let Fear Drive Your Strategic Decisions
Ryan Mattock, Co-Founder & CMO - CommissionCrowd
One of the most important lessons I've learned in business is not to let the fear of competition drive your strategy.
Having competitors is a healthy and natural part of running a business. It keeps you motivated and determined to keep pushing forward.
There's a lot you can learn from your competitors and boy did other companies try to learn from us at the same time.
A couple of years back my company CommissionCrowd were enjoying being the first to Market with a full end-to-end online platform that services the B2B commission-only sales industry.
One day, seemingly out of nowhere, a major competitor appeared and we literally watched them copy our every move.
While we stayed true to the facts, they made bold and exaggerated claims which, for a brief second, caused us to lose focus on our own core mission as we frantically tried to differentiate ourselves and move faster than they could.
However, we quickly learned that making decisions based on fear were highly detrimental to our mission and not only were they unfounded but also risked us losing our own way.
We decided that from that day on we would no longer fear the competition and instead embrace it.
There will always be competition but you have to shift your mindset and lose the fear. Competition is healthy as long as you stay true to your mission, focus on your own business and don't lose sight of your goals.
4. Learn To Differentiate Your Company From The Competition
David Davies, Managing Director - Sandler Training
Sandler Rule #35 - If Your Competition Does It, Stop Doing It Right Away! Often when I ask prospective clients why people buy from them, the answers that come back can be fairly predictable:
Outstanding Customer Service
• Superior Features and Benefits
Imagine you’ve just been fired and are no longer working for your current company. Although, stroke of luck, you have quickly found a new role with your old company's nearest competitor. Tell me why people buy from you now. Tumbleweed… See the problem? There's no differentiation.
Prospects are understandably confused. Everyone is saying the same thing. The same old ‘tired and testing’ blather. Now every company essentially does the same thing as another. They are competitors to you for a reason.
If everyone is running around shouting the “We can SAVE you MONEY!” message, you should think about sharing with prospects that you are not the least expensive solution in the market and that they should ask you ‘Why?’ Instead of saying “We have the BEST Customer Service EVER!"
Think about using a third party story."Our clients tell us that we are the fastest to respond and quickest to resolve their issues.” That's probably not important to them is it? The best way to differentiate yourself from your competitors is to stop doing what they are doing.
One way to differentiate is to wean yourself off your dependence on ‘Features and Benefits’. Stop telling everyone what your ‘stuff’ does and start asking questions around the pains your ‘stuff’ helps solve, mitigate or eliminate. Differentiate.
PS: ‘Outstanding’ can be read as ‘Still in existence, Unsettled, Unpaid or Unresolved’ – not a great way to describe your Customer Service is it?
5. There Is Plenty Of Room In The Market For More Than One Competitor
Caryn Kopp, Managing Director & Speaker - Kopp Consulting
One of the most valuable lessons I learned from a competitor was that there is room in the market for more than one competitor! What do I mean by this?
Our company’s primary service offering is Door Opening. We get our clients in the door for warm introductions with strategically chosen prospects (usually for large engagements).
A few years ago, I met with the President of a competitor over dinner. She explained their best clients are those who want appointments with mid-level managers for smaller engagements. She told me an example of a great client for them was a company which sells coffee to an office manager. A light bulb moment. Her ideal clients were not the same as my ideal clients. I began to use that phrase during business development conversations with our prospects. I said, “We are not the company to come to if you want to sell coffee to an office manager!” What did I learn from this?
There is plenty of room in the market for more than one competitor once you segment the market and focus attention solely on the best prospects for you. Further, there may even be an opportunity to refer business to your competitors when the markets don’t cross!
6. Study Your Competition To Learn From Their Successes And Failures
Janet Efere, Sales Trainer and Coach Tadpole Training
I love to study my competitor's reviews on social media, business directories and websites. Why do I choose this? Well, it's pretty straightforward.
Firstly, you get to hear about all the super things they do and why customers love those things. Then you are able to consider how you can do something similar (or ideally better) in your own business.
The second reason is that by reading the complaints, gripes, moans and information about the competitor's failings, you can ensure that you either avoid doing it, or have some sort of policy in place so that customers do not have false expectations.
However, you have to use this information sensibly as part of an overall strategy, otherwise it will not be coherent and may not truly represent your brand.
7. Your Competition Should Be Your Worst Case Scenario Or Your Achievement Marker
Jesse Hendon - How To Be Grown
If you do not have a monopoly in your marketplace, then your competition should be one of two things, your worst case scenario or your achievement marker. Most businesses today are not new. They are either replications of old ideas or old ideas with a twist. This is especially true in businesses that are driven by full commission sales.
I’ve found in the insurance game, knowing what my competition is doing allows me to pivot my product or myself to the front of the pack versus those who do not know. I’ve found that the following three avenues have helped me a lot when observing the competition as I build my game plans.
First, I network like a mad man and know people from all of my competitors health plans. I also know the brokers selling their products. I use these relationships to find out what’s good and bad about the competition from people in the trenches everyday. You don’t get this knowledge from people in ivory towers, you got to dig for it where the people are!
Second, through my research I try and discover if my competitors are providing a value to the consumer that I am not or vice versa. If they are, I’m immediately implementing. If they are not, I’m pushing that value at every consumer I come across!
Finally, I google companies and players in my industry on a very regular basis.Are they in the news? Are they doing something positive in the community or getting negative consumer reviews?
Information is at our fingertips today and if we’re too lazy to click a couple buttons to find something out, well, that’s just our own fault!
8. Discover Where Your Competitors Advertise And Learn What's Working For Them
You can find the best place to prospect for new customers from your competitors. Have you noticed a particular advertising medium that they keep coming back to?
The odds are if they are repeatedly spending in a particular location, they are getting a good return on the investment. Don’t be put off by your competitor's presence, get in there and try it. While you are looking at where your competitors advertise, take a look at the theme or offering This might give you a few clues as to what is working.
How can you make the offer more attractive? How can you step up the offer? It doesn’t need to be dramatically different or original; it just needs a slight twist to be more attractive.
Remember, your competitor might be sticking to this campaign because it is working. Why not try to leverage those learnings for your own sales results. Also, take a look at the case studies or success stories published by your competitor.
Have they highlighted a particular message that has resonated with the customer and has the customer given a quote explaining the benefits they experienced?
If the message is a little different to yours, maybe take some of the learnings from those case studies or success stories and try the message out with some other prospects in the same industry as highlighted by your competitor.
There is a lot you can learn from your competitor. If you see a repeated theme in the advertising or content and the channel, it's probably a clue that it's working for them so don’t be afraid to try it out yourself. Don’t allow your competitor to keep winning those deals unchallenged.
9. learn the good and the bad from your competition and have your clientele train you
Elinor Stutz, International Trainer and Educational Speaker - Smooth Sale
Competition doesn't exist when you take these steps. With mounting pressure from management to produce sales, how can one appeal to and attract loyal clients while maintaining integrity?
Today’s short answer is in two parts:
Research your top three competitors; the ones you frequently encounter. Read testimonials from their clients to check for a common thread, and search for additional reviews both positive and negative.
Look for commentary on the service provided to recognise how it may be improved. Visit the website to see the financials and research the executive team. All of the preparation will provide keen insight on how to differentiate your service from the others.
On initial meetings and upon meeting additional people involved in the process, do not sell to get the sale. Instead, ask relevant questions and listen carefully to the answers; clarify as needed. Then ask your clientele why they previously chose your competitor and what will make the difference for them to buy from you. Specifically, ask how they will decide to select their next vendor.
Point out the differentiators between you and your competitors, where you excel, and do so without bad-mouthing the competition.
Finally, ask if your method for delivering the service and customer care is the preferred route. The homework and active listening should get you to ‘yes’!
10. Carry Out A Competitive Analysis And Keep Tabs On Social Activity
Alice Heiman, Founder & Chief Sales Officer - Smart Sales Tips
I always recommend that my clients do a competitive analysis on their top 3 to 5 competitors. This starts with creating a spreadsheet with the items you are looking to compare like revenues, number of employees, number of salespeople, product offerings and price.
Next a thorough review of their website and a google search to see what is being written about them. Read their blog. Is their company leader positioned as an expert online?
Are their salespeople positioned as experts?
I always suggest a google alert to keep tabs on what they are up to. Be sure to watch all their social media activity and see how many followers they have on each platform and what they are sharing. The links to all competitor social media should be on the competitive analysis spreadsheet along with follower numbers.
I also suggest making a private twitter list of competitors and following them on every social channel. Then compare. Are they doing things you aren’t but should be?
Are they doing things you would never want to do? How are they positioned?
The next thing and most important – focus on your prospect - you have all this competitive info, do what you need to do to position yourself in the marketplace and stop focusing on your competitor and start focusing on your prospects.
It’s good to know about your competitors but it’s better to know your prospects. Go back and do similar research on your prospects. Make a spreadsheet. Start a google alert. Follow them and interact with them on social media. Determine if they are positioned as thought leaders or industry experts.
Find out who their competitors are and how your product or service can give them a competitive advantage. Do a deep dive and find all the potential buying influences and find them on social media, follow them and interact. Connect with their salespeople and learn from them.
Become an expert on your prospects, their place in the market, their industry, their industry positioning and how you can help them meet their goals. Then you won’t have to worry about your competition, because they aren’t doing that.
11. Exploit Gaps In The Market
Julien Arucci, CEO/Head of Sales - User Companies
Evaluate the information you find about your competitors. This should tell you if there are gaps you can exploit in the market. This should also indicate whether there is a saturation of suppliers in certain sectors of your market, which may lead you to concentrate on less competitive sectors.
Make a list of everything you have found about your competitors, even the smallest ones.
Classify information into three categories:
1). What you can learn from this information and
find out what they don't do so well.
2).Than you take what you can and learn from this information and improve
3). If you are certain that your competitors are doing something better than you, you must react and make some changes.
It could be anything, improving customer service, evaluating your prices and updating your products, changing the way you market, new design of your documentation and website, and change of suppliers. Try to innovate, not to imitate.
12. Understand The Nuances Of The Competitive Deficiency
Janice Mars, Principal and Founder - SalesLatitude
Unless you recently worked and left a particular competitor, you’ll never really know with 100% certainly what a competitor’s product or service does or doesn’t do.
Sales people can learn about competitors from their customers as they make comparisons – everything from their product offerings, sales or on-boarding process, implementation, support services, etc.
Go into every deal demonstrating the value you, your company and your product/service will deliver to that client.
As you work towards helping your customer solve their most critical problems, your customer will likely share information with you on competitors. Use this information cautiously but with aplomb. Never negative sell against competitors by trashing them since the information you have on your competitor may be outdated and/or inaccurate.
Take the high road. Understand the nuances of the competitive deficiency as it specifically relates to helping your customer get to a successful business outcome on their timeline.
Use what you believe you know about the competition to invoke the customer/prospect to go back and ask those competitors tough questions that may reveal their weaknesses.
Keep track of the competitive knowledge you attain in your daily selling but know that the data can get stale over time. Most organizations, including your competitors, know where they are weak and have plans to correct anything inhibiting their success.
Use your competitive knowledge to validate your customer’s priorities and/or to help your customer realize the deficiency with your competitor. My advice: Stay above the fray.
13. Simply Accept That Your Business Has Direct Competition
Tim Morris, Founder - Leadership Consulting
Too many businesses believe they have no direct competitors. If this truly is the case, then this business is in real trouble.
Identifying and understanding your competitors allows you to create differentials, which will attract new customers and keep existing customers.
If you don't know who your competitors are, then you are, in effect competing with everyone. Once you understand what and who your competitors are, your offering can be shaped.
14. How To Differentiate Yourself From Your Competitors During A Cold Call
Jan Kartusek, CEO - In Sales Academy
One piece of advice I have for sales people that are trying to schedule an appointment with a decision maker or an influencer, is to distinguish themselves from their competition on a cold or a warm call.
When I’m on the phone and I hear my prospect say: “Oh, no…another one of you guys, trying to get our business?”.
Most people are surprised or just get out of balance with this direct approach.
I don’t stay surprised. I react to the statement, acknowledge it and ask: “so, tell me John, how many companies have actually reached out to you about this proposal today?”
“I get at least 10-15 calls a day and I simply can’t keep up with it”, says the prospect.
“Oh, I get it. I would be bothered by that as well. Tell me, what do they usually say to you?”, I ask. “Well, usually they ask me about our vendors, and if we’re looking for someone now and they try to push me towards the appointment.”
Now, you should feel calm and in control by this point, because they are actually answering your questions...
“I understand that because you’re so busy, you can’t meet with a lot of these companies, however if you do meet with someone, what do you usually look for?”
This is a great way to get away from this part of the conversation and move towards finding out the decision making process, as well their preferences. You can jump back then and ask them about their current problems and by the end of the call, ask for the appointment.
There’s a big enough chance that you’ll differentiate yourself from other competitors - with your direct approach of acknowledging their pain of dealing with sales people.
After 8-10 minutes of building solid rapport and asking the RIGHT questions on the phone, you’ll be able to land the appointment. Feel free to reach out to me for more tips on my website.
15. learn Everything From Your Competitors And Make Adjustments Accordingly
Dayne Shuda, Founder Ghost Blog Writers
Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, was famous for his competitive analysis. No matter where he traveled he loved going into retail stores to take copious notes. He would even plan family vacations around specific store locations.
Walton looked at everything. The merchandise the competition was selling. The way the staff interacted with customers. The technology the store was using. The processes they had in place. He would analyze it all and use the best ideas that he knew would improve his own stores.
You can learn anything and everything from your competitors. But that doesn't mean you want to implement everything that's different.
Walton had the sense to know what his business was doing better than the competition. But he also realised that his business could always improve.
He focused on results. He looked at the competition to see what was working and what wasn't working. Then he would also assess his own stores the same way. What was working and what wasn't. From there he would use his notes from all his competitive analysis to make improvements.
16. Use Copy Cat Competitors To Your Advantage
Steven Benson, CEO - Badger Mapping
The most important things you can learn from your competitors is what they’re doing that is working well and what they’re doing wrong.
You can often replicate or counter strategies that are successful and avoid the strategies that they’re failing at - or do them better.
Once our company Badger Maps was established, we attracted a few 'me too' competitors who looked at what our product had developed into, looked at our marketing strategies and our messaging, and then copied it.
It's much faster to copy something then it is to figure things out and A/B test them in the first place. But at the same time, it can be good to have competitors, especially 'me too' competitors who are often relatively weak in terms of their product, because your prospects like to have options.
With a copycat competitor, you can confidently point your prospects in their direction knowing that they’ll choose you after they take a cursory look at both products.
There are a lot of things that you can learn from your competitors as well. You can look at how they’re approaching the different channels for the product and what different marketing strategies they’re using.
You can look at their behaviour in the marketplace and see for yourself what works and what doesn't. There are tools to see what keywords they focus on, and there are advertising and SEM strategies that you can use to make people who find out about their product also know about your product.
You can watch what PR activities do to get traction, and which ones don't seem to work well. Sometimes a different pair of eyes will describe or position a product differently for a slightly different market, so you want to keep an eye on that, too.
17. Discover Your Competitor's Sales Reps Selling Style And Differentiate
Tibor Shanto, Chief Sales Officer - Sell Better
One of the key things you can learn from and about your competitors is how they sell. This is not about their product, it is about selling style.
Everyone has one, and as with any opponent in most competitive environments, you can study it and exploit it.
People are creatures of habit, and habits are repeated. Once they find a groove that works for them, they stick with it, just look at most of the reps who have been in a given sales role for more than a couple of years.
This means they focus on the same things on every call.
A). You know what areas to address that are of interest to a prospect that your competitor habitually does not focus on. By focusing on these you will not only appear different, but get your prospect to think about things over and above your competitor discussed, making you seem more in tune and informed.
B). You can develop a line of questions, I call them 'Land Mine' Questions. These are questions that you ask the prospect, specifically designed to highlight areas that are shortcomings for your competitor.
The goal is not only to get the prospect to answer the question, and then reinforce its importance to making their selection. By confirming, and repeatedly reinforcing, you are looking to make the question be part of their list of questions to all vendors. If you know this is an area of weakness for a competitor, and the prospect asks them, it will put you in a better light for knowing, and for focusing on something your competitor did not.
Just remember, it cuts both ways. This is why you should plan each meeting and not be lazy and step on a land mine.
18. Pricing, Keywords And Customers
Jói Sigurdsson, CEO - Crank Wheel
The areas I highlight when it comes to learning from your competitors are pricing, keywords and customers. You can make your pricing model completely different from competitors, but by studying their prices you can see what kind of price tolerance your market has.
Be careful not to assume they never give huge discounts though - sometimes you'll find when you're bidding competitively against competitors that they discount well over 50% from their list price.
By looking at your competitors' messaging and blog articles, and by using keyword tools to analyse their websites, you can figure out what kind of keywords might be the most valuable to incorporate in your own content, to help your prospective customers find you.
Finally, you can use tools such as Siftery to study which types of companies are using your competitors' tools, as a way to better understand your market and see who your ideal target customers might be, or even as a way to generate a list of leads for your outbound sales campaigns.
19. Consider Head Hunting Your Competitors Top Sales Reps
Deb Calvert, President - People First
To gain the upper hand with your competitors, consider recruiting one of their top sales people or sales managers. Your new employee will bring best practices, client relationships, talent and experience that benefits your company. Before recruiting a target candidate, gather some intel about the company they work for now.
You can use this to identify potential gaps that would cause the candidate to be more open to your interest and eventual offer.
One of the best sources for gathering this kind of intel on competitors is Glassdoor.com. Glassdoor is a job board, but it’s most valuable feature is the Employee Reviews section of the site. Reviews from employees are posted for over 600,000 companies worldwide. You’ll get the inside scoop. To access this feature, sign up for a free account and select “Company Reviews” from the main menu.
Next, enter the company name (your competitor) and see what employees have to say about them. Look for signs of discontent. If you can offer a different experience for the person you hope to recruit, you’ll boost your chances of attracting their interest. You’ll have something more to offer than a pay increase or blue-sky commission promises. You’ll be able to compete on something meaningful, insightful and unique – differentiating yourself with the candidate.
As with selling, you’ll need to make sure this differentiation is relevant to the candidate. There may be, for example, a number of reviews posted that say this company requires too much overtime. That’s not an advantage if the person you’re hoping to attract lives to work and loves putting in 80 hours a week.
Just like you would in selling, ask questions to see if something you’ve learned resonates with the candidate. An opening question can help clarify this quickly and also pique the candidate’s interest. You can be subtle or bold, depending on the situation and your own style.
One of the executives I coach called a sales manager from a competing company and opened by asking “I keep hearing that managers at company name are driving sales people away, but no one seems to be leaving your team. What’s it like for you to have those bad management practices reflecting poorly on you?” It took less than a month to complete the recruitment of that candidate who has been happily employed with this new company for nearly a year.
He was not aware, until that question was posed, how damaging it could be for him to remain in a place where bad management practices were the norm.
If you’re feeling “that’s not fair” or that this practice is somehow shady, consider this. Professional recruiters, headhunters, hiring managers and HR business partners routinely do this sort of thing. Poaching employees isn’t unethical. It’s standard business practice. If you’re not paying attention to the top performers at your competitors, you’re giving them the upper hand.
20. Play Customer For The Day
Nick Kane, Managing Partner - Janek Performance Group
You can learn a lot about your competition by researching what their customers say about them online.
In today’s day and age, customers leave a treasure trove of positive and negative reviews on sites such as Yelp, Google, or Facebook. You can get a sense how your competition goes about doing business while learning more about their sales ethics and methods, service quality, and overall customer satisfaction.
Short of playing “customer for a day” yourself, this online trail of customer reviews and comments can provide you with enough insight to improve in areas in which your competition shines while perfecting your own sales and service processes to gain the upper hand on your competitors.
21. Pick Your Competitor's Website Apart
Bruce King, Business Growth Strategist - Bruce King
When I first started out in sales, the Internet did not exist. It was therefore a quite difficult and often long-winded process to find out who the competition was, and precisely what they did. Now we have the Internet and much of what we want to know about them is on their website for all to see.
So what should we look out for on their website? Bearing in mind the rule ‘never knock the competition’ (well not obviously anyway),
look for the answers to the following:
- What don’t they do that you do, that would improve upon their offering?
- What do they do that you do better?
- What do they do that you don’t do, but should be doing?
- How do they describe their USP, and do they really have one?
- How does your USP compare to theirs?
Most important of all, remember they have access to your website too! So ask yourself this: ‘Are we giving away too much information?
22. Don't Get Sucked Into A Pricing Contest
Dave Kurlan, CEO - Kurlan Asssociates
The single most important thing for you to learn from your competitors are their greatest weaknesses.
Then, when you ask your prospect what's important and why it's important, you can choose a key point and simply ask, and "can't XYZ do that?" You already know the answer - they can't - and that eliminates the competition, allowing you to sell your value instead of getting sucked into a phoney pricing contest.
23. Become A Student Of What Your Competitors Do/Don't Do
Andrew Thompson, Founder - Peak Performance Professionals
Gaining the upper hand from your competitors is accomplished by becoming a student of what they do (and what they don't do).
Study the flow of service, examine the quality of product:
- Do they meet or exceed YOUR standards or expectations?
In obtaining this type of information you may also find new ideas or even where you fall short as a professional. However, if you do find flaw with your competition, under no circumstances do you ever promote your competitors flaw to your consumers
- focus on promoting yourself and your company and use the information you receive to lift yourself UP and not tear DOWN your competition... negative comments will come back and bite you one day.
24. Keep Social Tabs On The Competition
Jyssica Schwartz, Jyssica Schwartz
If you have a successful, profitable competitor, it makes no sense to ignore them. Clearly, they’re doing something right. At the minimum, you should be following your competitor’s social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
You’ll be able to see what they’re sharing, what is more effective, and gain ideas after seeing what people are responding to, or even learn from their mistakes and see what not to do.
You should never copy someone else’s marketing plan, but social media is public and it would be silly not to follow them and keep an eye on what they are doing so that you can adapt your strategies.
You can learn more about the market and the audience in this way.
What platform are they responding to?
What types of posts are they engaging with? What kind of feedback are they leaving?
This, along with the same information from your own audience, is immensely important, so you can continuously adapt your marketing strategy.
25. Look For Opportunities To Collaborate And Cross-Promote
Maxwell Ivey, Founder - The Blind Blogger
Don't think of them as competitors; Too often our first thought is we have to beat anyone offering similar products or services in the same market.
However, often there are opportunities for collaboration and cross promotion if we take the proper attitude. Also, we can make poor decisions if our overwhelming focus is being the top company right now.
26. Use F.R.O.G
Michael-Maher, Speaker, Author, Coach - Refer Co.
First, and always first, be yourself and do it differently. Do not be afraid to lead with love, generosity, appreciation and whatever else your values include. People lean in to true, genuine PEOPLE.
We dive into detail in the Seven Levels of Communication (7L) on how to develop a Community of Ambassadors who help you grow your business. Wouldn’t it be great if your business was the most referred and most recommended business in your field or industry?
The first idea is to think about the question:
How many of your clients would attend your funeral? Are you treating your clients like you would a friend?
This person entrusted you with their money in exchange for your value. Are you over-delivering on that value?
Focus on FROG to set yourself apart:
FROG is an acronym to remember what to ask other people during phone calls and in-person meetings.
(F) is for Family
(R) is for Recreation
(O) is for Occupation
(G) is for Goals
Lastly, set a Referral Goal. Set it in terms of outgoing AND incoming referrals. Something like, “I will give 200 referrals and receive 100 referrals in 2017” is a powerful statement.
27. Turn Competitors Into Allies
Shel Horowitz, CEO - Going Beyond Sustainability
Coming home from a conference with lots of business cards, I typed up my extensive notes from the conference and offered them to people I'd met there (many of whom are competitors).
In the offer, I requested a phone meeting to learn more about their business and perhaps share some useful advice with them. This generated a number of phone interviews and quite a few warm leads. This is one among many examples of how I turn competitors into allies.
Strategies like this got me co-authorship of TWO Guerrilla Marketing books with the legendary Jay Conrad Levinson—who, like me, is a marketing consultant/author/speaker. The latest one is Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World, which has endorsements from Seth Godin, Jack Canfield, and about 50 others.
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28. Ensure Your Customer Love Is Represented Publicly
David Priemer, Entrepreneur, Sales Leader, & Author Cerebral Selling
Today’s buyer is more informed, skeptical, and peer driven than ever before! That’s why when they research your company and compare you to other solutions, you need to ensure that the information they see positions you in the most favorable and well-differentiated light.
Try this now; Google your company name and add “reviews” to the end of your search. Chances are if you’ve done this the first few results that appear are for sites like G2Crowd, TrustRadius, Capterra, and Getapp. Sites that your customers frequently use to scope your credentials before they even contact you. Now do the same thing with your primary competitors.
How do you stack up?
Unfortunately, many solution providers with amazing products and services don’t take the time to ensure their customer love is represented across these popular review sites. A huge lost opportunity! The good news the solution is easy; mobilize your customer advocates to write reviews for you.
Even if you’re a new or smaller player in the market, these review can not only drive new business and higher conversion rates, but they can help differentiate you against larger and more prolific players.
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