[10 Questions] in Nailing Your Friendly Competitor

What has been your experience with your ‘friendly competitor’?

Quick story…..

In preparing to attend an upcoming trade show in California, one of my customer’s national sales rep ( lets call him Dan) and I spoke with his largest customer with the goal in mind of setting an appointment while at the show. Success – appointment granted.

In granting him the hallowed time slot, the customer said ‘I’ll give you first shot over your friendly competitors’ as he offered his three open slots. We chose the first one, just prior to lunch (another story for another time around appointment strategy and choosing time slots.)

After concluding the call, Dan and I had the same gnawing feeling. We both knew that he had the lion’s share of his customer’s business and that the competition was always looking for an opportunity in any area. None the less, we began to list Dan’s biggest competitors, their business model, strengths, weaknesses, innovation skill, and so on.

In doing so this served as a great reminder on knowing our competitor and created a new level of ‘awareness’ as we prepared for the show.

Our next step was to ‘Google’, seeking the following objectives.

The list of questions below is now a template for knowing and studying each my customer’s ‘friendly competitor’. While fundamental in nature, capturing this information can serve to fortify your position and to get your thought process flowing.

  1. Who are your key competitors?
  2. How does their business model and product/service offering compare to yours?
  3. How does their business model and product/service offering contrast with yours?
  4. Where are they superior to you?
  5. Where do you have an edge?
  6. What can you offer that they cannot offer? How does this align with your customers needs?
  7. What is their level of innovation (some offer this on their site under News, or Recent Events)?
  8. How does their leadership team compare with yours? How well connected are their leaders with your industry and key customer and prospect base?
  9. What is their financial strength? Going a little deeper, what terms do they offer? (Don’t get caught off guard here by your competitor perhaps leveraging longer terms.)
  10. Are they going through, or about to go through an M&A?

The question now becomes, how can you leverage your new found knowledge and nail your friendly competitor?

As always I am here to help.

To your success,
Andy

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