Your Competition Can Be Your Best Teacher
It’s wise during turbulent times to refocus your efforts to compete successfully and maintain, or improve, key dealer relationships in the marketplace. That’s not news, but how exactly should you go about it? Consider taking some time to get to know—or re-familiarize yourself with—your competition. After all, it can be your best teacher.
The fact is that no business exists in a vacuum. Competitors are plentiful and can be a great source of learning. Even better, you’ll find that basic information about them is readily available, and with some quick research, you’ll gain insights that will help you determine if and how to shift your strategy to win new business and differentiate yourself.
Here are some simple tasks you can do right now to glean key competitive info:
Revisit Your Competitors’ Websites
- See how they positioned themselves during ever-changing factors like economic downturns or supply chain issues. Did they offer to do anything different for customers, like adding attractive new payment options to spur higher close rates?
- Note how they address key details like pricing and policy. Do they offer volume-based pricing or similar to boost sales?
- Is the content freshly updated — not stale — and is the site intuitive and well-organized so customers can quickly locate what they are interested in?
- See how they present customer testimonials. Are they prominently featured? Compelling and with quantifiable benefits?
- After perusing a number of websites, look at your own, asking these same critical questions. How does your site/company stack up?
Investigate Your Competitors’ Current Reputation
- Check out the Better Business Bureau — one of the oldest and most respected resources in the nation — for company profiles, including complaints, ratings, years in business, reviews, and more
- Study well-trafficked review sites like Yelp, Google reviews, Houzz, and HomeAdvisor
- Scrutinize a handful of reviews, looking for patterns (e.g., have they had repeated quality issues? Is their customer service consistently highly or poorly rated?). You’ll not only learn what they’re doing right — and wrong — you’ll also likely discover what you want to focus on in your own business
Now Leverage Your Insights to Stand Out From the Competition
Once you’ve assessed your competition, here are two next steps to consider:
Find Out Why People Prefer Your Company Over the Competition
Knowing your business is receiving positive (or negative) reactions is helpful, but the bigger question to consider is why is your business getting those reactions? Is it pricing? Customer service? Financing? Turnaround times? Discovering and capitalizing on this information can boost your revenue — and your reputation.
Give Dealers What They Want
Even a modest amount of research will reveal what potential and current dealers care about. Is it deep industry expertise? More product training? Attractive consumer financing options? Zero in on the top two or three customer “wants” and make sure you deliver on them — every time. You’ll set yourself apart and reinforce your commitment to excellent customer service.
Your market research can be accomplished in little more than an afternoon — time well spent when you consider the fresh business intelligence it will yield. These insights will help you evaluate and direct your next strategic move, whether it’s a simple tone shift on your website, a new marketing campaign, or expanding payment options. So block off your calendar and start researching. You’ll be glad you took the time to learn from your best teacher.
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