Yes, You Can Legally Spy on Your Competitors!
You don’t need to hire a detective or a computer hacker to get the juicy details on your competitor. There are a lot of tried and tested legal ways to get the next big plans of your competitors. Here are some of them.
You can read the newspaper or your competitor’s blogs. If a magazine has a feature on them, buy that magazine and start reading. They usually reveal company secrets and future plans in these interviews. You can also get the data on marketing and sales plans and future expansion plans. This information will help you gear up for the challenge ahead. Don’t forget to read the comments on your competitor’s blog. They will give you an insight to the type of customers they have. It can reveal why they are loyal to your competitor or why they don’t like the company.
Chat up your suppliers and service providers. You might be surprised to find a link to your competitor. Keep the conversation casual so as not to look too obvious at getting the 411 on your competitor. Be friendly to your providers so that you will always know the latest news.
Explore trade shows or your competitor’s factory itself. If you are afraid that you might be recognized, send a friend or an employee instead. Eavesdrop on their conversations with clients. You might hear some juicy details. You can also have your friend inquire about their products and services. Choose the chatty and loud salespeople as they tend to give out the most exciting information. Factory tours are also great to know your competitors first hand. You will be able to observe their processes and how they do things around the company. Listen to the crowd’s questions as you might get an interesting bit or two.You can also go to their store and observe. Observe the employees, the service, the facilities and the customers. Which parts of the store are the most popular? What are the customers’ favorite products? You can use this information to improve your own customer service and products.
Google, Slideshare, and Quora
A simple Google search can give you competitive intelligence. Just searching “filetype: doc site: (your competitor’s company name)” will reveal hidden pages. If you want to see other data, change the filetype to .pdf, .ppt or .xls. Slideshare is teaming with presentations to investors. You can find financial data and forecasts here. You can also get the details on upcoming projects. Quora on the other hand is a database of interesting questions which are usually answered by a company’s employees. These are reputable sources so the data that you get has a high authenticity rate.
The Big 3
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Follow your competitors on these three social media and you can be sure to keep up with their latest plans and product launches. Sales and promotions are usually broadcasted over Twitter and Facebook. You can easily react and counter these special offers if you’re following them. You can also monitor their conversations with their customers through these sites. Listen to both your competitors and their customers. If you can’t follow them yourself, ask a friend to do the spying for you.
There are many ways to learn about your competitor and their plans. You just need to be patient in researching the information you need.
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