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Keep Your Friends Close and Your Competitors Closer

competitorscloseThere’s a familiar quote attributed to Chinese general and military strategist, Sun-tzu: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” If you know your enemies, and you know what they are up to, you can keep a close eye on them. If you are unaware of their activities 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. Remember competitor doesn’t mean enemy or unethical business owner, merely one who is after the same business you are.

Regardless of your definition, if you have a business you are working, 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.

It’s important to reiterate this concept. I can see some independent consultants taking exception to this. Many think they’re all ‘sisters’ and all here to help each other. I’m not here to dispute merits of helping and giving to others. That’s a different discussion and for the record, I don’t disagree with that. Rather I’m referring to those who could potentially get the business that could or should be yours, if you are attentive to your business. If you’re not working your business then you shouldn’t consider anyone competitors.

Assuming your competitors have a website, because now days 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 or specific target market?
  • How are they finding leads?

Many direct selling companies offer replicated websites to their consultants, but these affiliate type sites are generally 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, set yourself apart and get traffic.

Methods 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.

Find the leaders of direct sales company and do what they do. Note I did not say copy what they do. There is a big difference. Emulating greatness, making it your own and not reinventing the wheel is what I’m suggesting. Becoming a carbon copy of them is lazy, unethical and in many cases, illegal. Learn the title ranks of different companies. Are they called Managers? Diamonds? Superstar Directors? Whatever their title is, perform a search using keywords [Company name] [title]. You may find some interviews they have done. Read about them for helpful tips on how to find web traffic.

If the leaders are using fresh content, that information will be ranked. If they have written articles for other sites or have used keywords to set up the pages on their website that will be shown as well. Articles that mention their names will also show in the search results.

Be helpful

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.

It is prudent to know what the competition is doing. If you want to be able to stay in the game, having this information 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).

Lastly, if you pick up nothing else from this article, know that I am suggesting you learn from the leaders, not copy them.

About the Author: Laurie Ayers is a Michigan work from home mom and a Superstar Director with Scentsy Wickless Candles. She enjoys helping men and women start and maintain a home based business in the US, Canada, Poland, Australia, Puerto Rico, Germany, Ireland and the UK. To download a FREE Start Up Guide which provides more details about how to start a home business as well as to learn about our compensation plan go to  www.thrivingcandlebusiness.com/how-to-start-a-candle-business/  or for updates on Facebook LIKE  www.facebook.com/ThrivingCandleBusiness and twitter @directsalesblog

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