Blog: Competitors – How to spy to get inside information
Your competitors could be plotting a game changer in your industry. So, we need to know what your competitors are up to on a regular basis? “We need a little bit of insider information – Maybe it is time to spy on your competitors a little.
Likewise, what do they tell your customers? What do they tell them in their effort to take your customers away from you? in other words, take money off your table. What promises do they make?
That information would be nice to have…
When I finished my Master of Science in Denmark and took on my first management job (in Texas of all places), I quickly learned that I needed to know my competitors’ financial position, sales and marketing as well as pricing strategies. My job was to buy health clubs.
I had the very fine title of Vice President for Business Development. As a young man, I was proud of this title, but it carried responsibilities. I was responsible for scouting out competitors and offering to buy them. To do my job I needed inside information. Of course, I couldn’t walk in and ask the owner of a business for confidential information.
However, we wanted this information so we could decide if we either wanted to buy that business (and at what price), buy another (competing) business or attack the market with a low pricing model with high volume or vice-versa, or maybe exit the market completely due to their business plans. Information was required.
I was struggling to obtain this information from a private company. But, I learned to target and approach their staff for information. Contact them to discuss their career and what they have learned so far. How did they use this learning in their current position? How did they see their employer’s competitive situation? Their staff talked about their employer’s business. I quickly obtained valuable information; I got hold of information that often changed our own business thinking.
We learned of new ways of doing business, ways we had not considered or taken seriously previously. So, if you want information, just ask the right people!
Today, after having opened about 10 business and having been recruiting for 20+ years, I see every recruitment drive as an opportunity to obtain competitor information.
See also: Where to find the best employees
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