Many entrepreneurs, business owner’s, sales managers and sales people believe their customers govern the prices they charge, their level of sales, and their overall market share. Many others believe they are the masters of their domain and set those levels themselves. In most cases both are not true. Who then is responsible for the prices your business charges or the level of sales you achieve. While both are important considerations in setting prices and determining sales, below the surface is this thing called competition. Truly it is your competitors that determines how you can price your product or how successful your sales are. For this reason, it is imperative that we know our competition.
Many business owners and sales people make the common mistake of looking down on their competitors. They mock them, make light of them, find fault with them and constantly criticize them. The truly successful entrepreneurs respect their competitors. Every successful business owner and sales professional will investigate their competition. They will study their strategies and tactics, they will evaluate their market penetration and domination. How do they position themselves in the market? How do they position their products or services? Why do people buy from them, why don’t people buy from them? How do they service their customers? How do they price their products? What is their approach to quality? How do they service complaints? What are the strength and weaknesses of their products versus yours? In evaluating your competition, the list of questions is endless. You can never know enough about your competitors.
Keep in mind your competitor MAY NOT always be another individual or company. Two examples. The cruise liner industry does not compete with other cruise lines (yes individually they do) but with land based vacations. Knowing this, they can effectively market and sell against their true competition. Financial Planners while competing against each other also must compete with consumer apathy and ignorance of the advantages they bring to the table. Realizing this allows them to position and market themselves as information sources and educators.
As you get to know your competition and you start to understand their business and the products and services they offer, turn the focus toward yourself. Ask yourself the exact same questions you have been asking of your competition. The goal is to find your Area of Excellence. What is it that you do at least 90% better than your competition? What is your Unique Selling Position or USP? Armed with this knowledge you now know what you do that benefits your customers and that no one else can or is offering. Armed with this knowledge you now have the ability to position your product or service into the marketplace and to capitalize on your area of excellence.
Armed with this knowledge you then have the ability to realistically set your prices, devise your sales plans, forecast you goals, and plan your way forward. Start with a plan and execute that plan with regards to knowing your competition. This type of focus will allow you to greatly increase your odds of achieving success in both business, and your overall career.
About the Author
With more than three decades of experience in all facets of sales management, customer service, business growth, and staff coordination, Certified Business Coach Greg Emslie is a focused professional with the tools to help you grow and manage your business effectively.
Driven by his ability to implement proven business concepts and help improve teams, Greg affects all areas of the companies he works with, including sales, leadership, profitability, and decision-making. He focuses on improving efficiency and processes for his clients while helping them grow their revenue base.
Ready to begin finding other ways to make your company more productive? Let’s get the conversation started. Contact Greg Emslie for a business strategy discussion today