20 Mar How To Leverage Your Competition #FireMeUp11
This post is part of the d11 Personal Branding Blog Series…
It is time to dive into the third point in the series:
#3: Know your competitors.
Here are SIX ways to fire up your thinking around and leverage your competition:
1. DEFINE YOUR COMPETITORS
Start by writing them down. Put them in an Evernote folder or fill a whiteboard with their names, do whatever YOU do when you make lists! This sounds basic, but it’s a mistake many business owners and salespeople make. You need to know who all your competitors are–not just the obvious ones, but the ones flying under the radar as well.
2. RESEARCH YOUR COMPETITORS
Once you know who they are – pay attention. Create Google Alerts for each of them. Follow them on Twitter. Use products like Newsle to seek out articles written by/about them. Periodically review their websites. Don’t miss out on the IRL (in real life) research too! If you own a winery, when was the last time you “experienced” tastings at your competition?
3. NETWORK WITH YOUR COMPETITORS
Okay, you know who they are and you have set up listening channels to stay “in the know”… Now, connect with them! Join industry and business networking groups online (think LinkedIn) and associations. Connecting with the PEOPLE behind the business is key. People do business with people. Understanding each other may lead to: sharing referrals of overflow work, adding a subject matter expert to your circle, or simply meeting someone who shares your passion and vision for the same industry!
4. BE INSPIRED BY YOUR COMPETITION
If they are really nailing a new product launch or filling a need with a new service… think about how you might be able to fill that niche need for YOUR clients. Let me be clear, I am not saying you should COPY what your competitors are doing. I am saying you should learn from them and be inspired by them. Competition breeds excellent and can PUSH YOU TO GREATNESS. Come from an abundance mindset, not that nasty old scarcity kind. Don’t let their success beat you down… go to the drawing board, translate it, and add your own brand of sizzle and sparkle.
By the way, remember YOU are also inspiring others.
BE YOUR BEST. CREATE YOUR BEST. INSPIRE OTHERS TO BE THEIR BEST.
5. GET CLARITY FROM YOUR COMPETITION
Go along with me here… Often times my clients get better clarity for their OWN BRAND when we are doing a competitive analysis. They are able to hone in on their niche; focus in on the path that BEST fits their values, skills, and passion… all by paying attention to the competition. Remember, just because everyone else is doing it (jumping off a bridge :} or offering a new service), doesn’t mean you have to do it too. Knowing about it and having to implement it are two different things.
Last, but definitely NOT least…
6. SHIFT YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT COMPETITION LOOKS LIKE.
Simply put, trying looking at what a competitor “looks like” in a different way… are they:
Unicorns or Furniture?
If you’re a social media specialist (aka: a unicorn) you absolutely must show your potential clients why investing in social media is more important than investing in redecorating the office space with new furniture or upgrading the antiquated phone system. (*cough*)
Solving the same problem differently?
Let’s say you sell cupcakes. (I can hear the collective – yummmmm…. ) Okay, so you KNOW you are not just competing with other cupcake joints, right? Local businesses who sell sweets and desserts are your competition… You need to show your potential sugar-addicted customers why your cupcakes are better than cookies, pies, crepes, or frozen yogurt.
Is it a possible “inside” job?
Imagine you run a H2 biz –>house cleaning and handy man business. You know most of your potential clients can clean their own homes or put those bookcases together. Your job is to paint the picture of WHY they should hire you by reminding them of the fabulous things they can be doing with all of the “saved” time! Golf, tennis, wine tasting on the weekends, playing with their kiddos…. Know your clients and customize your message to them.
If your potential clients “do nothing” will they survive, thrive or dive?
This one always seems to be overlooked by businesses and entrepreneurs. Our passion for the services we provide or the amazing product we peddle clouds our vision. MANY customers choose to “do nothing”. In the consulting/services world “doing nothing” can truly be THE #1, el grande, numero uno competition.
Remember, taking some time to GET REAL about your competition is an important part of your business planning. Enjoy the process of researching who they are, what they are doing, networking with them, and being inspired or ignited by them… and don’t miss out on the “not so obvious” competitors out there!
Have these topics stretched your thinking about COMPETITION?
What spoke to you the most?