Monday, October 10, 2011

Five More Tips to Trump the Competition

1. Hang: Most offices have a place where the work staff hangs out: a favorite diner for lunch, the "company" bar, etc. Do a bit of research and find out where the competition's team spends their free time. People love to complain about work, hash out projects, and talk about the bosses. Sit. Listen.

Sometimes you can even engage. I once took a business intelligence trip to Arizona. The target company was a very large player in the hospitality industry. I stayed in the same hotel. Struck up a conversation at the bar with one of the execs, an attractive 50-ish year old female who loved to down martinis. I asked her why she was in town. She told me...For five hours, she told me. An hour into the conversation, her team showed up, introductions made all around, and they told me...My client was able to put together an entire proposal based on our conversation. Bar tab - $60.00, Hourly fees - $500, first-hand intelligence - Priceless.

2. Find the Ex: Tap into the rumor-mill and find out who's just left the competitor's ranks. (There are several industry specific news outlets that actually post revolving-door news items.) Find past employees. Ask them to dinner. Ask them questions: What does XYZ Co. do really well? How are they better than us? In which areas are they weak? Do not ask people to violate non-disclosure agreements.

3. Buy: Become a customer. Use their services. Find out, first hand, what the competition does better than you.

4. Buy (part 2): Buy stock. Seriously, buy a couple shares of the competition's stock. Now you have the right to learn anything that other shareholders know. Worth a shot.

5. Conference Hound: Go to the same trade shows. People love to brag. Let them.

1 comment:

  1. Couple of very interesting ideas there that I may try and exploit myself.