Keep Your Friends Close and Your Competitors Closer
There’s a familiar quote attributed to Chinese general and military strategist, Sun-tzu: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” It means that if you know your enemies, and you know what they are up to, you can keep a close eye on them. It’s easier than if you don’t know them at all; that makes them unpredictable. The same is true your direct sales competitors. One way to increase your business is to take existing ideas and put your own spin on them. By the way, there are no new ideas, just reworked ones.
Who are your competitors? Some consultants believe other companies that sell similar products are their competitors. Could be. Others believe that their product line is unique enough to set them apart from other companies therefore their true competitors are other consultants within the same company.
Regardless, we are all in competition. If you have a business, then you are in competition with everyone else who has a similar business. To find new customers and potential team members, investigate what your competitors are doing. There is nothing illegal or unethical about evaluating how a competitor markets her product or business opportunity.
Assuming your competitors have a website, because in this era it’s pretty much a necessity, there are some statistics you need to gather about those competitors to get the information you need.
* Is their website professional to where they bring in customers with the content?
* How long have they been with this company? with direct sales?
* What are their rank positions on the major search engines?
* Do they have a niche?
* How are they finding leads?
Many direct selling companies offer replicated websites to their consultants, but these affiliate type sites are not sufficient for bringing in the kind of traffic that will widen your customer base. Invest in an external website, if permitted by your agreement, to showcase your business and get traffic.
There are many ways to attract customers. If you are just getting started, investing time finding out how the competition markets their products gives you a jump on where to start with your business. Sometimes the most valuable and worthwhile tactics are right in front of you.
Most direct sales companies recognize their top sellers. On various company websites you may be able to find lists of top consultants and the gross sales they have been earning on a monthly basis. However, more companies are protecting this information. Although if you consider other consultants within the same company your competition, then you should have access to this information. You may also find some interviews they have done. Read about them for helpful tips on how to find web traffic.
People love to read new tips and techniques to improve their own business (such as this article, for example!). Keeping a website updated with new content is a must if you want repeat traffic. Use PLR articles, content from article banks or hire a ghostwriter if you don’t fancy yourself much of a writer.
Something often overlooked is just because you have signed up to sell products doesn’t mean that you have to sell every product in the catalog. Some will be better sellers than others depending on the preferences of your customer base. The business website you set up can be geared towards the segment of products that you’ve chosen – again, if you’re allowed to have an external retailing site. If a competitor focuses on a particular niche, see how she is accomplishing that.
One quick and simple way to evaluate marketing techniques for a competitor is to Google her. If she is using content it will be ranked. If she has written articles for other sites or have used keywords to set up the pages on her website that will be shown as well. Articles that mention her name will also pop.
It is prudent to know what the competition is doing. If you want to be able to stay in the game, it is essential. Rest assured they will be looking at you. If you don’t believe me, set up a free Google Analytics account and see who visits your site. You might just be surprised (and flattered).
About the Author: Laurie Ayers is a WAHM from Michigan and a Star Director with Scentsy Flameless Candles. She enjoys helping others start and maintain a candle business. You can find Laurie at http://www.Scentsy.com/LA or http://www.ThrivingCandleBusiness.com